Posted on Leave a comment

Blue or Green

I saw this when I was out and about today:

I thought I would share it in case you need a smile.

Check out this difference.  The green stuff is the dry fabric that soaked in the black bean water for 24 hours.  

The blue stuff is still wet.  I just pulled it out of the dye bath after a 48 hour soak.  

I wonder if it will stay blue or if it will dry green?  I’ll probably never find out.  I did one of those things I probably shouldn’t.  But it’s inevitable, so I did it.  I threw everything in the wash.  

I know I shouldn’t, naturally dyed fabric deserves a gentler treatment than that.  However, not only am I sure to throw them in the wash without really thinking at some point anyway, they are also napkins and dishtowels, they really should be able to handle the wash.  I hope they stay blue, I don’t really care for the green.  I suspect that green may actually come from the mordant.  

They are in the dryer as I type away.  When I pulled them out of the wash, they were pretty pale.  Living and learning, that’s just how I do.  

Posted on Leave a comment

..hint hint..

I took this picture last night, when the jars weren’t back lit by the window.

I think it’s kind of funny that they are covered with an indigo dyed dish towel.  It’s indigo’s fault they there, because I can’t dye with indigo in this weather.  

Anyway, I sucked it up and put my dirty dishes in the dishwasher before getting started this time…You’re welcome.

They all looked pretty much the same in the jars but there is a fair amount of variation between them.

That pink piece is a silk scarf that I dyed with avocado skins and pits but didn’t like, so I threw it in with the cotton.  I still don’t like it.  But I like everything else.  Cotton napkins, dish towels and doilies.  I didn’t rinse them, I just hung them up.  

This doily was up near the top of a jar.  Where it was exposed the the air, it is greener, the submerged part has much more blue.  So, I took it and a couple of dishtowels and stuck ’em back in for another day.

I think they’ll stay submerged this time, that jar in there is full of water.  I’ll post again tomorrow when the pieces that are hanging are dry and the 48 hours pieces are done.  I’m curious to see of the extra time will matter.  

I really want to try again using a different mordant.  I’m only interested in non-toxic mordants and am open to suggestions..hint hint.

Posted on Leave a comment

A Blue Miracle

Spoiler:  That stinky ass mordant that threw everything cock eyed.

I found an online source that recommended that fabric soak in mordant over night (instead of three days) so I pulled everything out today (please, follow my example and ignore all the dirty dishes on my counter).  I won’t lie to you, pouring various stinky liquids form jar to jar and mixing them all up is fun as hell.  I felt very evil scientist-y.

Backing up, check out these fermenting bean bubbles.

Next time (oh yes, this will happen again), I will try and time it better.  I am sorry to horrify all you frugal bean eaters out there, but I threw the beans away.  I don’t even have room in my frozen compost pile for them.

I think it looks pretty brown here.

Maybe a but purple.  But, when I threw in the mordant soaked fabric,

GREEN!  Muddy green, at that.  It looks greener in real life than in the picture.  I’m pretty disappointed/stoked to play with mordants in the future.  That’s why I will have a next time and I’m not even done with my this time.  Right now, they are lined up on my windowsill, wedged between the proof that I shouldn’t be allowed to have indoor plants.

More tomorrow; I’ll check them in 24 hours, hoping for a blue miracle.

Posted on 4 Comments


Why must everything that dyes something else STINK SO BAD?  For black beans, it’s the mordant.  It’s a mix of alum and washing soda in hot water.  

I followed  the advice I learned from A Honeymooners Guide to Living for amounts…sort of.  

I should probably say I started to follow it; I measured my fabric, pulled out my calculator and figured out how much alum and washing soda to use.  Then I realized that I don’t have a measuring spoon to dedicate to dyeing so I eyeballed it.  I just threw some of each in.  I just gotta be me. 

Now I wait…

……I’m not very good at waiting so expect me to dye before I should.  The fabric is supposed to soak in the mordant for three days but the beans are starting to bubble and smell like,,,science.  

The mordant still outstinks the beans.  I think I need a glass of wine to wash it all away.  

Posted on 4 Comments

Full of Beans

I totally blame Pinterest for this.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, **understatement alert** but I’ve become somewhat obsessed with indigo.  

Dyeing with it is stinky, though so I am waiting for warm weather to dye some more.  But I’m impatient…as a rule.  

When I saw on Pinterest that people are dyeing fabric blue with BLACK BEANS!!!  I lost it.  I LOST it!  I went straight out to my organic co-op to buy some black beans but they didn’t have any.  NOOOOooooooooOOOOOO!

So, I called my husband (he goes to the big, non-organic grocery store) and he bought me a four pound bag of black beans!  Oh yeah, baby.  I’m in business.  

All you need to do is soak the beans.  I can soak the beans.  

You stir them a couple of times while they soak.  I can do that too.

The first time I stirred it, it was a really pretty purple.  

Now I need to figure out what to dye and get it soaking in a mordant.  That has been the hardest part of this whole process so far.