Thursday, January 22, 2015

Natural Dye Series #5 - Black Beans

 This is probably one of the simplest ways to dye yarn and fabric.   Get a large bag of dried black beans, find a recipe for black bean soup (because you will probably want to eat them after they soak), place the dried beans in a large bowl and cover with water.  Soak overnight.  Add more water if necessary. 

In the Morning, drain the liquid.

The bean are ready to be cooked into that recipe.  May I suggest this one.  Easy and delicious.

Place your yarn into the liquid you drained from the beans.  I used unmordanted unknown wool yarn that I found in my local thrift store on a big giant cone.  It is super rustic and scratchy, but perfect for little dyeing experiments.  I've been making a few different naturally dyed colors and am planning to knit a cowl.

I placed this is a sealed jar and put it in the fridge for about a week.  I stirred and check it every once in a while, but I left it alone.  It got kind of stinky so I'm glad I put it in the fridge.  I was afraid of mold.

Here it is...nice and greyish blue.  The yarn on the left was dyed previously and blogged about here.  I heated the black bean mixture which you shouldn't do unless you want a murky brown.

Here is another go with black beans....

I knit the Meadowsweet Shawl.  Out of JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk blend in the daffodil colorway.  I'm not much of a yellow type person so I thought I'd try and dye it with black beans.  
Yellow + Blue = Green!

I put the knit shawl in the black bean liquid.

I was a bit concerned during the soaking (which was about 3-4 days at room temp) that the color was a tad bland and not very vibrant, so I pulled the shawl out and stirred a few tablespoons (about 2-3) of baking soda in the liquid.  After this dissolved, I returned the shawl.  It soaked for additional day. 

The after.....

and all three black bean dyed items together for your reference.

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