Natural Dyeing: Beetroot in two different ways



For my first try I used about 500 g of fresh beetroots. I peeled and chopped them and then I boiled them in water for little under two hours (I needed to keep adding water because it was drying out). After that I sifted the dye and added a 13 g skein of white wool yarn that I had pre mordanted with alum (read about it here). I boiled the yarn for 1 hour in the dye, this is basically the same method I used when I dyed with lupine. I did add a bit of vinegar to the final rinsing water to help stabilize the colour. I knew that the result would be orange and not the pink colour you would expect from beetroot. I really like this orange, it’s not the brownish orange you get from onion shells (although that’s pretty as well). I think there is still a tiny hint of that pink left in this one.



My second try was a bit more experimental. I have been doing a lot more cold dyeing lately and I wanted to try that with beetroot as well. For this I used some pre boiled beetroots that you can buy vacuum packed. I put the beetroots (three of them) to the food processor and made mince out of them. I must say this method was much easier and much less messy then the previous one. I poured the mince in to a glass jar and filled it with water. I let the beetroot mince soak in the water for 24 hours, before sifting it from the dye.



After sifting the amount of dye decreased considerably.  I put in 35 g of white wool yarn that I had previously mordanted with alum. I let the yarn soak in the dye for 24 hours (stirring it every once in a while) before rinsing and drying.


The result turned out to be this baby pink colour. Has anyone got any experience with beetroot? Does the colour stay or does it fade away? I also thought it was interesting how two different methods got me completely different results.



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.




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.  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. I’m not sure how fast that happens but I’m interested to find out. If any of you have some experiences I would be interested in hearing them.