Red Cabbage in three colors




red cabbage










I’ve never dyed yarn before. I love to experiment, but I
don’t really like following instructions. This makes for an interesting combo
when it comes to hand dyeing. I cook a lot and like to mix different recipes
for the same dish into a funny hybrid that by nature I can never remember how I
made. Must be a good method for dyeing yarn, right? Definitely! Well, perhaps .
. .

 I kept reading conflicting information about mordant–which
dyes needed one, which don’t, which mordant to use, which assistants to use in
conjunction, measuring out wet ingredients vs. dry, the metric system,
ratios—things were getting deep! I just wanted to keep it simple, a pinch of
this, a dash of that. I decided I was just gonna go for it and let the chips
fall where they may.  

 I couldn’t ignore the mordant thing completely, so I roughed
out a vague recipe of one tbsp of baking soda and one tbsp of cream of tartar.
I premordanted (is that a word?) the first sock blank while I was boiled the
red cabbage, both steps took an hour. My test would be to dye one sock blank
with mordant and one without.

Sock blank and cabbage cooking:

cabbage and blank cooking










After the cabbage is done cooking, you can add a couple
things to change the color. The images below show three things, first image is
straight cabbage “juice” the second is showing the addition of vinegar, (I
think it’s supposed to be clear, but all I had was apple cider). The third
image shows the addition of baking soda, it turns it a pretty teal-y green.

three colors





I tossed both blanks into the straight cabbage juice and
simmered it for 35 minutes. I pulled out the unmordanted blank and rinsed it
because I wanted to see how much of the dye was sticking around. It was pale
lavender, pretty, but faint. I bound the blank with a couple rubber bands and
decided to change the color of the remaining dye with baking soda. The whole
pot turned green with only a small amount. Tossed both blanks in and cook them
for an additional 30 minutes.

First results, pale lavendar:










Results after turing the dye bath green with baking soda:










The results: both blanks turned a soft sage green, with no
difference in color between the one that used a mordant and the one that
didn’t. Although I think from the books I read, the mordant is more helpful
when it comes to color sticking around when washing the yarn repeatedly, so
only time will tell. The blank I used a couple rubber bands on, had an
interesting result, it’s faintly striped, purple in the middle where the
original purple cabbage dye was, green on the outside for the last dye bath,
and sort of blue where one dye meets the other. Neato!

3 color stripes result: