Black and blue

Cotton fabric and small amount of wool dyed a pale greeny blue.

No I haven’t incurred severe bruising following some sort of freak accident. The title of this post is my seamless segue from the topic of black & white in the last one to my latest creative endeavour.

I have been dyeing using kitchen waste.

The dyestuff was the liquid left over after soaking black beans.
The resulting dyed fabric (originally my sons’ old white cotton school shirts) is blue!

I also threw in a small amount of wool yarn.  This had previously been dyed a very nondescript beige using red rose petals, so I’m not sure if the resulting greener hue is a result of that or the simple fact that wool and cotton are different.  Or perhaps a combination of both reasons.

Dyeing with black beans is SO easy.  I followed the instructions found on this blog post.  I do have the required powders to mordant with alum and tannin, but don’t yet have a separate pan for their safe use (they shouldn’t be used in pans normally reserved for cooking) so I left that stage out.  I’ll have another go when I get hold of a second hand pan to use for my home dyeing, and I’ll be able to note the differences.

After soaking the beans I used this recipe to make a delicious black bean chilli.  Since the recipe calls for cans of black beans and the whole point was that I needed to use the ones I had soaked, next time I’ll cook the beans separately for half an hour before adding them.

I am feeling very virtuous and in tune with the planet!  🙂

4 thoughts on “Black and blue

  1. Janice, What a great idea. I always felt guilty pouring the water from the black beans down the drain.. Beautiful colours too. I used to dye way back when, but I don’t have any mordants at the moment either… but it can always be done. So Cool!

    • Thanks Gwen. Pleased to have solved your black bean water problem for you! I’m looking forward to gradually exploring this natural dye from kitchen waste idea more fully too.

  2. Not only feeling virtuous, but have some lovely naturally dyed materials to play with! Wool and cotton do respond differently to dyes, but I think I would have expected the difference to lie in tone rather than colour, so there may well be some unexpected interaction going on…

    • Yes, something to do with the protein in wool and also in silk, I think. I get the impression (from my experiences so far) that silk in particular holds dye better, but I don’t have lots of silk lying around at home, and I do have these old cotton school shirts, so cotton it will have to be for the time being!

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