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