Monday, April 07, 2014

Black Bean Dyeing

So, I saw online some examples of people using Black Beans to dye where they got blues and purples out of it. I have done a little natural dyeing, so I thought I would give it a try see what would happen.

I soaked my black beans overnight. I decided I would try following a recipe from the Food Network and then use the leftover "juice" as my dye. Best of both worlds! Most dye recipes call for soaking for upwards of 3+ days to get deeper, richer colors. However, this was my experiment, so here we go. After soaking overnight I put the beans through a strainer and I saved the juice. Then where it says to skim off the foam I added that too. There was also a bit of extra juice in the final product so I saved some of that too. All together there was about 2 cups.  

Then I got together my supplies. 2 cups of bean juice (or one large ziploc container full) and some distilled vinegar. Not shown is my fiber, which was superwash merino roving and weighed 74 grams.

Into the pot it goes! This is after I added 4 cups of water (or two large ziploc containers full) and 1/2 cup of vinegar. I used a large pot that allowed the fiber to move around pretty freely. Typically I would use a dye pot for this type of thing, but since everything was kitchen safe I went ahead and used a stainless steel kitchen pot. The vinegar definitely turned it toward the pink side while in the pot. It also did the trick for setting the color. I might try it again using alum or some other mordant. I simmered it about an hour and then let it cool completely so it would soak up the most amount of color

The finished result is rather stunning. It's a soft purply grey color. I'm thinking I might blend it with some other superwash I dyed and then spin it into something. What, I don't know yet, but something pretty for certain. So, if you have black beans on the menu and want to do a little experimenting with natural dyeing, make sure to save that juice!

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