Having a bash at natural dyeing

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
I'm sorry I haven't posted in such a long time. Truthfully, I'm having a really tough time at work at the moment and it is sucking the joy out of my life. I am perusing other options.

Anyhoo, enough of the oversharing of woe, Let me show you something that has given me great happiness recently.

The other day I was peeling beetroot, to make soup. Peeling the buggers is always a vaguely stressful time as I am a  naturally messy person and without applying hyper vigilance, my hands are destined to be pink for days, my bench top runs the risk of being permanently speckled with pink blobs and my clothes could be bedazzled with interested new design elements.

Whilst trying my best to work neatly, it occurred to me, not for the first time, that it seems such a shame to chuck out the peelings without first having a bash at natural dyeing. Fortunately, I had purchased some mini-skein blank mill ends during my last trip to Bendigo. (I found them in the back room of the Bendigo Woollen Mills store. This room is basically the end destination of any serious Australian knitters annual pilgrimage.)

So, armed with beetroot peelings, and have skim read a few blogs on the matter, I decide to give it a bash.


To this I added about 2 litres of water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar (to help the colour set).


I boiled the mixture and then left it on a simmer for about 20 minutes.

The next step is to strain the mix, discard the peelings and then allow the liquid to cool because I didn't want to create a felted mess.

Once I was happy with the temperature (I guessed) I threw in my seven mini skeins. I was intrigued to see if there was any difference in the results based on the soaking length so I pulled out the skeins at different times the shortest being one hour, and the longest being overnight.

The time allowed in the mix did differ the results, what I discovered was that there was no great difference being one and two hours, which were the lightest, and there was no great difference between 8 hours and 12 hours which obviously were the darkest.


Once the yarn was pulled from the pot, it was rinsed and then after the water ran clear gently squeezed and hung on the line to dry.

I feel like I should apologise for the washing...I'm not going too, we occasionally wear clean clothes in this house.


Didn't they turn out well?! I'm a little bit in love with them despite the fact that they are pink.

So was that the end of my dyeing adventure? No. It was the beginning of my mania.

Next step, Turmeric


2 Litres of water mixed with 2 Tbsp of ground turmeric (no vinegar) then boil and cool as before. The mix was gritty but I didn't strain it.

Then, rather than create a batch of yellow skeins, I mixed the turmeric mix with the left over beetroot dye, which was much weaker than the previous day as I had already used it. I left them overnight to do their thing.


The results...



I've run out of blank mini skeins...I clearly need more.

I've a vague idea what I want to create with the result but so far haven't started anything.

Hopefully this post signifies a return to blogging and the end to whingeing about my job!

1 comment:

  1. I'm keen to see more of your experiments! The beetroot took so well, I really thought the turmeric was going to be so much more intense. Looking forward to see what you make with these skeins.

    We all go through these times of jobbing and living being very much in our face and not letting us get on with nicer things. It's been a busy month here, but I couldn't point at one particular thing that has caused it? School hols? I hope the jobbing situation is resolved soon so you can get into a new groove and hopefully be happier with work!

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