Thursday, January 12, 2017

Second Thursday Tutorial: Dye then eat


That's sort of a strange title, isn't it?  But it's exactly what I did.  I soaked about three cups of black beans for two hours, then saved the juice.  Next, I added seven more types of beans and legumes to the mix and allowed them to soak overnight.  Yesterday I had eight bean soup with a side of wild rice.  Now that I have covered the eat part of this tale, let's get to the dye part.

You can see the now cool black bean juice I siphoned off, along with what's left of an old white bed sheet  

that I tore to size.  As I've said before, I am a simple dyer.  I don't like harsh chemicals, so I use old bed sheets that the sizing has been washed out of years before.

If you start with new fabric, you must prepare it for dyeing.  Even the fabric marked PFD (or prepared for dyeing) must first be washed, because it contains oils and dust that have accumulated from customer handling and sitting on a shelf in a store.

For new fabric, you will need a big pot, soda ash or washing soda (which are caustic), and a detergent free of dyes, chemicals, lotions, brighteners, or softeners.  Then you add the soda ash and detergent to the pot with lots of water and the fabric you want to "scour."  Next, you must boil it for a given amount of time.  If you go this route, I'm sure there are tons of tutorials on the internet that can give you ratios, what and where to purchase materials, and advice.

You will also learn you MUST scour your fabric, even old bed sheets like mine.  Scouring helps assure even or equal color and good penetration of the dye. But I'm not using commercial dyes, and I don't want even or equal color.  I'm all about the mottled look in my dyeing.

I didn't even wet my fabric first, something you are told to always do to get mottle free dyeing.  Instead, I LOOSELY tied knots in a few places.  If my fingers were stronger, I would have tied tighter, but I knew I would never get the knots untied if I did.  I was hoping these loose knots would at least provide a bit of a barrier.

As I began placing my fabric in the black bean dye bath, I was surprised to see how the "dye" was already wicking into the fabric. 

I continued to watch,

mesmerized by how quickly the dye bath took over.  I allowed the fabric to sit overnight in the dye bath, and yesterday I removed it, washed it in warm soapy water (I used Dawn brand dish soap), then removed the knots.

Even though it's very windy, and I have yet to iron this fabric,

I was not just happy, but thrilled to have created this piece. 

After a short time, the fabric was dry.  Even though it dried lighter (which all fabric does), I was elated beyond belief with the outcome.  Looks like my camera photo bombed the photo (on the right), too.

I was glad I finished taking photos of this early in the day because as I was bringing this fabric in to iron it, the wind started to shift to the north.  We are now under a winter advisory, with blizzard advisories from Friday afternoon through Monday morning.

Thanks for joining me today as I created a simple dyed piece I will use as a cover for one of my fabric journals.  Once this goes live, you can easily find it again on my Tutorials page under "Dyeing using black beans."  I hope you like these Second Thursday Tutorials.  For me, it is all about asking "what if," and discovering the outcome.

23 thoughtful remarks:

Helen said...

what amazing results! I love the colour you got from this experiment - and soup, to boot!! We are due some snow here later today/tomorrow which will cause chaos, we are so bad at dealing with it....

froebelsternchen Susi said...

The color turned out fabulous and I guess the beans tasted delicious too!
Great tutorial Elizabeth - didn't know that beans makes such a cool dye!
oxo Susi

Valerie-Jael said...

I would not have imagined that the colour would be so lovely, it turned out very well. And you got to eat a healthy beans and rice meal, that's an added bonus. Thanks for showing how you did it. Have a fun day, hugs, Valerie

chrissie said...

What a wonderful colour and great to have the stripes. I love the sound of the beans and rice as well--all brilliant ideas

Love Chrissie xx

Pen Sunshinepen said...

Hi I just find so wonderful your tutorials so very helpful. Thank you for the links yesterday on my blog. I have read with interest. So not excuse for me not to have a go at doing a Journal....hehehehe....
Have a good day. Heavy rain here with the forecast of snow later. xx

kaybee said...

What a fabulous colour that turned out to be - food and craft, the perfect combination!

Margaret-whiteangel said...

How clever is that! Lovely colour too...
Keep warm as we swelter in the heat..

My name is Erika. said...

Wow- what a great colors all the bean juice makes. Those black beans really give off some pigment so I shouldn't be surprised, but I am. The soup sounds really delicious. I am having soup cravings lately-time to make some I guess. But I do find your dyeing fascinating. Do you have any plans for the fabric or are you like me who likes to dye and then figures out later what I'll use the fabric for?? Hugs-Erika

Darla said...

I need to start saving the soaking water from my black beans. What a great piece of fabric you now have. I am always impressed with how you make use of everything.

Jeanie said...

This is really pretty, E. Love the color and the white from the tying. It's going to make beautiful journal covers!

CJ Kennedy said...

Interesting. I've only used tea and coffee to dye paper, never fabric. Don't you need to use a mordant like alum to set the dye?

CJ Kennedy said...

Oh, and stay warm and cozy this weekend. Only 159 days to the first day of Summer!

Sandra Cox said...

OMGosh this is amazing, Elizabeth. And the color is gorgeous. Who would have thought. Not me anyway. The pattern takes me back to the tie die era of the 70s. I still have a tie die sheet, lost the T shirts years ago. I blush to admit, my dye came from a box.
Great job. Kudos and hugs.

Krisha said...

WOW! That turned out gorgeous!
Looking forward to seeing what you do with it.

Nancy said...

How interesting! I love your results, too.

~*~Patty S said...

I would be over the moon too E!
Gorgeous gorgeous "legume" creation LOL
Who knew black beans would make purple dye.
Your knots in the fabric added perfect texture and interest too.
Bravo well done oxo

Divers and Sundry said...

What a great color, and the pattern is perfect. We have rainy/grey weather and a high of 74F today lol No winter advisory for us!

Meggymay said...

I would be thrilled as well, to see how beautifully your fabric turned out. Its a super colour.
I like the idea of having an edible end to your project as well, the beans and rice side sounded delicious.
Yvonne xx

Carol said...

Love the color you ended up with and I'm sure the soup was great too... now I'm hungry for bean soup so I guess I need to dig around in the pantry and see what I can come up with. :) Thanks for sharing.

Özge Başağaç said...

This is a lovely outcome. And i like that you use old bed sheets. I do this, too :) Would you use this piece in your art journals? Or will it be something like a scarf? I wonder if i could use dried beans for dying as well. And i wish i knew what soda ash is (in Turkish, too :)Have a great weekend.

Cindy McMath said...

I'm amazed at the colour you obtained with this Elizabeth - no wonder you are thrilled!

pearshapedcrafting said...

Oh My! I can't believe I am so far behind with reading this - I was saving it so I could savour it but didn't get back as quickly as I intended! This colour is simply fabulous! Who would have thought? Although saying that, I remember some of the lovely colours my Mum used to get (and some of my own too) This really was a most useful tutorial and I may well be giving this a try at the caravan in the Spring! I hope you are keeping warm! Hugs, Chrisx

Halle said...

Wow...it's beautiful! I really had no hope of this vibrant color after the first photo. Amazing!