Natural Dyeing: Red Cabbage

Since I have been back to the city I have been experimenting more with vegetable dyes. I tried red cabbage, because I thought I could achieve blue with it. I read about it in this blog. Mine did not turn out blue but a rosy pink colour. I used pretty much the same dyeing technique as I did with lupine (read about it here). I had a red cabbage that weighed 577 g, I chopped it and boiled it to make the dye. I dyed 25 g of white wool yarn that I had previously mordanted with alum.

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The dye turned out very strong purple/red colour, but the finished colour is a rosy pink. At first I was disappointed with this colour but after a day I though it’s quite beautiful and sweet. Although not the kind of colour that I usually go for and definitely not blue. What I think happened is that the cabbage reacted to our tap waters PH. Apparently red cabbage is very sensitive for PH, with acidic it turns pink and with alkaline green. So that would indicate that our water is on an acidic side? I’m terrible at chemistry. Ā I also put a little bit of vinegar to the rinsing water (so the colour would stay better) but the colour was already pink before that . I have read that red cabbage is a bit risky because it tends to fade away in time. Iā€™m not sure how fast that happens but Iā€™m interested to find out. If any of you have some experiences I would be interested in hearing them.

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5 thoughts on “Natural Dyeing: Red Cabbage

  1. Hi, first I want to say thanks so much for reading my blog!
    The colour you got is beautiful and amazingly different than the blue I got with red cabbage. I think it might have to do with the ph of the alum which I believe is pretty acidic. To get the blue, I didn’t pre-mordant in alum at all.
    Now I definitely want to try playing around with mordants of different ph levels though and see the colour range of red cabbage! šŸ™‚

    • Thank you for reading my blog! šŸ™‚ You know I never though of alum! You might be right and this might solve also the mystery I have been having with black beans as well. Thanks šŸ™‚

  2. Pingback: Natural Dyeing: Colours from the Supermarket | The Easy Blues

  3. Hello Marjo,

    you got some really beautiful warm pink from cabbage :-)…my little batch of silks (I love to test any dye/mordant combination on silk first as you get the most vivid colours possible) dyed with red cabbage turned blueish pink/purple here but in another project- eco-printed scarf- it turned bright blue and purple when over-dyed with black rosehips (rosa pimpinelifolia)…no mordant has been used…will try pre-mordating with iron next time to see how it reacts šŸ™‚

    Jana-Ffelt Abertawe

  4. Hi! Red Cabbage is an interesting vegetable in dyeing. That’s what I love about natural dyeing you never know what is going to happen in different conditions. šŸ™‚

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