Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Warning, may contain traces of beans


Dyeing with beans, black beans. There has been a long thread on a dyeing group on Ravelry about dyeing with black beans so I thought I'd have a go.

Sooooo.. here's what I did. I had about 50g of aran-weight wool, mordanted with alum and cream of tartar. So far, so normal.

Dyeing with beans is quite different from what I usually do because there is no heating involved at all as apparently heat kills the colour. So instead there's a huge amount of soaking. I soaked the beans in cold water in a jar in the garage for several days, topping up the water from time to time as the beans seemed to absorb a fair bit. Then I drained the liquid into my usual dye-pan and added the wool and left it to soak in the garage again. Various people in the Ravelry thread talked about letting the beans/wool soak in the fridge but I didn't have space in the fridge so chose the garage as it's cool.  Meanwhile I put the drained beans back into the jar and added more water to see if I got any more colour out of it.

 This is what looked like shortly after I added the wool  - absolutely gorgeous!

 I can't remember exactly when I took this picture unfortunately, but it was the same day as the picture above so you see how quickly the colour was taken up.

After a couple of days I added the second lot of bean water and left for another two nights.

And here's the result:

And I am so happy with it! Mostly blue with hints of green. I really should have taken note, but this was my slowest dye ever having taken well over a week what with all the soaking, but it was very much worth the wait.

 And in a ball:

From what I gather it's not particularly light-fast so it's one to use with caution I think, but that's fine with me. It's blue! Bluuuuueeee!

Meanwhile at the other end of the spectrum here's what I'm knitting at the moment - my mitts. Although it's quite a small project it's pushing me quite a bit because it contains cables and lace, sometimes in the same row (with increases for the thumb on some rows too), both of which I've done a bit of but not at the same time, plus following a chart which isn't my forte.

There has been a lot of muttering, scribbling, stifled swearing and a bit of undoing a couple of times, but I think I've got the hang of it now. I'm moderately pleased with this!


Annie @ knitsofacto said...

Not just blue, a gorgeous blue!!!! Love it!

Bean dyeing is a new one on me too, I must give it a go :)

Skip Bruce said...

Blue is beautiful! Blue is best!

Just call me Buxton...

ewenique said...

I was with you until I read it took over a week! Bean dyeing is not for the likes of me.

Peeriemoot said...

I think I might have another go soon, Annie, it really is a pretty colour.

Ewenique, I'm really not a patient person (not when it comes to dyeing anyway!) but I think because it was out in the garage it was largely out of sight/out of mind :-). I'm sure it could be done quicker actually, maybe a couple of days to soak the beans, and a day to soak the wool. The wool took up the dye really quickly, I just wanted to make extra sure!

Skip, I'm thinking of this wool as The Blue Voice now :-D.

Mrs. Micawber said...

What a lovely, soft colour. I never heard of dyeing with beans either.

You're a brave soul to tackle those mitts! (Says the spineless sticks-mainly-to-garter-stitch knitter.) They're going to be lovely. :)