Yep, turmeric and red cabbage will also dye. They are both notorious for poor colour fastness, but that may not matter here. Other food things you can use are the water strained off black beans (mauvey blue), and safflower stamens (yellow, from Asian groceries), oh and I think sumac (but not the pickled kind - brown colour??) Avocado skins and pits, and pomegranate skins (I think), and fresh green walnut shells, and um... You can also work with rusty iron and copper to make colours, and there's heaps of European plants around in temperate English-speaking countries whose dyes properties are well known.
Kool aid is another synthetic petrochemical dye as I understand, and although I'm not sure about the specifics of this brand, many food colourings are actually chemically in the same class as, or identical to, industrial fibre dyes, with excellent dyeing properties and any attendant carcinogens, toxicity. At least in the US, anyway, which has relatively lax laws about this stuff.
As an alternative to soaking in baking soda or bicarb, you could put the fibre in a box with bicarb or scrunched up newspaper for a while... great for absorbing smells. (Newspaper is a great thing to remove food smells by putting them in glass jars with lid after you wash them btw. Bicarb works great in the fridge in an open bowl.)
I'm dyeing cotton and some wool and silk, and don't have much cash flow plus in consideration of environment and health. Considering a fibre reactive primary red, yellow and blue, and fibre reactive black and protein fibre black. Anyone know which of the two is less healthy for me and/or planet? Which uses more water (Procion MX I think needs much more rinsing)? Which exhausts better? Or - which can be left for a few days and additional things left in the exhaust to dye? More reliable results? Thanks if anyone knows what I'm talking about!
Um, it really depends on where you live as to what's available and abundant. Where are you? If you're in a temperate first-world kind of place like most English speakers, you're in luck as there is heaps of info out there on various plants. You'll need to learn to identify them, though.
One thing that's available everywhere is onion skins. Go to the supermarket etc. and grab big handfuls of brown and red skins from the bins (put them in separate bags). It's really doubtful that anyone at the checkout will raise a fuss - you're doing them a favour. If you think it's embarrassing and many natural dyers do, well, that's the price of doing something outside the usual buy-til-you-die/dye paradigm! Onions can (depending upon the onions themselves, the skin colour, the compounds you use with them, the fibre, the temperature, how long you stew the skins for, etc.) give you anything from pale yellow, golden yellow, pale orange, deep orange, brown, olive green, red, maroon...
Onion skins don't have great colourfastness unless you do a few things to them. Is colourfastness an issue for you? I don't have info for cotton but pre-mordanting protein fibres with copper compounds can be better than aluminium compounds but may give a greenish cast. And leaving the material in the skins to soak overnight helps too. I don't have much time so I'm not going to talk all about it (natural dyeing is a looooong subject) but Ravelry has some groups on natural dyeing, and Yahoo has the excellent group NaturalDyes.
Or the other thing you can do is buy the extracts (such as from Griffin Dyeworks) from a range of tried-and-true plants... that works too! Good luck!
The other factor with dyeing clothes is that the thread is probably not cotton, it's probably polyester, and won't pick up dyes unless it's a specific polyester dye. However, if your skirt is dark navy, I doubt dark navy on black would be that obvious. Anyway, good luck!
I drill my shells slightly under water, on a bed of polystyrene foam. Keeps it cool and lubricated. I use a diamond burr with a dremel on medium speed, but I guess you don't really need one if you're careful, a normal drill bit and screwdriver would probably work. I'm lucky to live in the tropics, so there's a few fancy shells on the beaches to play with (and bits of coral are nice too), but have only just started making stuff with them.
As far as I can tell, coloured copper wire is coated, and designed to be non-reactive (non-oxidising) so that the colours are permanent. Copper will only react with your skin if it oxidises in a raw state, which doesn't apply here. We all have traces of copper in our bodies - it is an extremely common element and necessary for nutrition. A lot of copper (if you have acidic skin you might get a lot of green acetates rubbing off jewellery) may or may not be detrimental to some; it's medicinal for some people and neutral for others but YMMV with raw copper.
I just posted about this in the request for a woodworking board, but I think it would help if there were more boards here about crafts that men tend to historically and still currently be over-represented in. It would perhaps attract more men to Craftster, and encourage more cross-fertilisation of crafts across genders, as people would hop across boards to check other stuff out.