Black Bean Dyeing

I’m so excited to share with you my 2nd natural dyeing tutorial. This is definitely one of my favorites because there is no heat required for setting the dye. It’s basically a set it and forget it kind of dye project! The only time you need to heat up the yarn is when you’re adding mordant to it. I hope you enjoy this fun dyeing method!

Materials

  • 1 bag of dry black beans, mine was 16 oz.
  • Large bowl or jar, I used a gallon sized mason jar. Any large container would work fine. As long as it’s deep enough for yarn to be fully submerged.
  • Water
  • Large Pot
  • Strainer
  • Dish towel
  • Alum and Cream of Tartar, found in spice section of your local grocery store.
  • Natural yarn of choice. I used Knitpicks Stroll Fingering yarn (75% superwash merino wool/25% nylon)

Step 1: Pour the bag of black beans into your large container and add 12 cups of water. Measuring your water isn’t completely necessary, but if you’d like to try and duplicate colorways, then it would be important to do so. Just make sure you add enough water to fully cover the beans and some extra so that your yarn will be able to be fully submerged in the water later on. Keep in mind that the beans will soak up a little of the water, so the water level will go down slightly after we drain the beans out. Let the beans soak for 12-24 hours and every few hours give the beans a stir.

Step 2: While the beans are soaking, prep your yarn. First you want to let your yarn soak in water for at least 30 minutes or until the fibers are fully saturated.

Step 3: Mordant your yarn. Fill your pot with enough water to cover your yarn. Bring the water to a light simmer and add 2 teaspoons each of Alum and Cream of Tartar and mix until dissolved. Add your yarn and let it simmer for an hour to let the mordant adhere to the yarn.

*If you’re using non superwash yarn, be careful not to agitate the yarn too much in the cooking and washing process to avoid felting*

Step 3: Drain the beans out of the water. I like to line a strainer with a dish towel and put it inside a large bowl. You can then pour the dye into the strainer and the towel will catch all the beans and any small particles.

Your dye will be a dark grey color with a hint of red/purple .

Step 4: Add yarn to black bean dye and let it sit for 12-24 hours. Every few hours I like to stir the yarn around in the dye to make sure the color gets evenly distributed on the yarn.

It won’t look like much when you first add the yarn to the dye bath and you’ll probably think.. how is this going to turn blue? Just wait.. you’ll notice the colors change after it sits for a little while.

Step 5: Wash your yarn with your favorite wool wash or a little bit of dish detergent. Rinse the yarn until the wash water runs clear and then hang to dry! Yarn dries fast outside on a nice sunny day but you can let it dry indoors. I will sometimes put my drying rack in my bath tub and let it dry for 24-48 hours.

Here are my results from the same dye bath. The first skein I left soaking overnight. When I took it out there was still some color left to the dye bath so I added the 2nd skein. Your results may vary depending on the PH level of your water and the amount of beans and water you use.

If you try out this tutorial, please tag me on IG @wildwooddesignsme. I’d love to see what you come up with!

Please follow my blog via email. You can sign up on the main page and then you can stay up to date with all my new posts! I plan to post many more tutorials and free patterns!

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Avocado Dyeing

I’m so excited to share with you my very first yarn dyeing tutorial on my new blog.. and it’s with avocado! I’ve been dyeing yarn for a few years now but only recently started natural dyeing. I find it so satisfying to get beautiful colors from food and plants vs just buying a commercial dye.

If you’re a guacamole lover, make sure you’re saving all those pits and skins! If you’re like me and don’t really eat avocado, I have my neighbor save hers for me! You can save the pits and skins over time by freezing them. Make sure to clean them really well. Scrub all the excess green flesh off and let them dry out on the counter for a little bit before sticking in the freezer.

What you will need:

  • Avocado skins and pits, I used 4.
  • Water (Tap is fine)
  • Containers for soaking (I used a plastic dish pan)
  • Large Pot (I use a 12 quart stockpot)
  • Natural fiber yarn (I used Knit Picks Stroll Fingering)
  • Alum (Optional, spice aisle of the grocery store)
  • Cream of Tartar (Optional, spice aisle of grocery store)

Dye Prep: 

Place your hank of yarn into a large container or dish pan, fill with enough water to cover and let soak for at least 30 min until yarn is fully saturated.

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Prepare your avocado pits and skins by cleaning them very well. You don’t want any of the green flesh left on them because it will make your dye bath cloudy and effect the color of your dye.

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This next step is optional, adding a mordant to your yarn. A mordant is what helps your natural dye stick to your yarn. Most natural dyes require this step but the pit of an avocado acts as a natural mordant, so an additional mordant isn’t necessary but it doesn’t hurt to do so.

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Fill your pot with enough water to cover your yarn. Bring the water to a light simmer and add 2 teaspoons each of Alum and Cream of Tartar and mix until dissolved. Add your yarn and let it simmer for an hour to let the mordant adhere to the yarn.

*If you’re using non superwash yarn, be careful not to agitate the yarn too much in the cooking and washing process to avoid felting*

While your yarn is in the pot with the mordant, prepare your avocado dye. I typically don’t measure anything when using natural dyes, but for this tutorial I added 1 gallon of water to the pot and added the pits and skins of 4 avocados. You can play around with the amount of ingredients you use to get different levels of color.

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Bring the pot to a low simmer and let it cook for about an hour or until your water turns a deep reddish color.

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Strain out the avocado pits and skins from your pot. I like to pour the water through a strainer lined with a kitchen towel so I can get all the tiny little bits and pieces out. Then add your yarn to the pot and let it lightly simmer for up to an hour or until your dye water has mostly cleared.

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Take your pot off the heat and let the yarn cool completely. Wash your yarn with your favorite wool wash or a little bit of dish detergent. Rinse the yarn until the wash water runs clear and then hang to dry! Yarn dries fast outside on a nice sunny day but you can let it dry indoors. I will sometimes put my drying rack in my bath tub and let it dry for 24-48 hours.

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Here are my results from 2 different dye baths. Your results may vary depending on the PH level of your water and the amount of pits and skins you use. I’ve seen some people get more pinky red colors. So far I’ve only seen these peachy tones. I plan to keep playing around and see what other results I can get!

If you try out this tutorial, please tag me on IG @wildwooddesignsme. I’d love to see what you come up with!

Please follow my blog via email. You can sign up on the main page and then you can stay up to date with all my new posts! I plan to post many more tutorials and free patterns!