Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Beet Dyeing

Sunday we canned beets (mmm must resist eating newly canned items). One of the by-products of this process is the liquid from initially cooking the beets. Given its great color and amazing staining power, that got me to thinking. How well would this dye yarn?

So I tossed a hank of pre-washed, recycled white (superwash?) wool in to the liquid and added some (food grade) citric acid. (No exact measuments here, about 2 generous teaspoons.) Could you use vinegar? Absolutely, but I don't care for wool smelling like it, and I had the citric acid around anyways for making bathbombs. Although I did have some alum in the house, I didn't use it. This skein was unmordanted other than the acid.

Notice the great gradiation in color. I started with a homogenous initial liquid. The pot that this was done in however was for the most part unagitated. (No CSTR here.) The orangey-tan bits were closest to the heat source, while the more brick colored bits were closer to the surface. The picture here was after several rinsings in sudsy water. Some of the red came out, but what is there still seems to be fairly permenant. I have read that the red from beets is water soluble though.



Anonymous Robbyn said...

Your yarn is gorgeous! I have also used beet juice in conjunction with tea and Easter egg dye in a crock pot. I got a nice, mildly striated cantaloupe color, but, like you, have read that beet stains aren't permanent (or at least permanently the color they initially appear) and so have been reluctant to try it again.

I probably will though, at some point - we LOVE fresh beets :)

20/9/06 8:13 PM  
Blogger greenpease said...

I have read that it fades as well but I don't that it will bother me. It will be forever changing, just like life. Deep.

16/10/06 10:15 AM  

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