Using red cabbage as a dye is fun! Not only is it a beautiful colour but it has magical ph colour-changing properties. The dye is considered fugitive and unfortunately will fade, but I have still had lovely results.
Red cabbage neutrally is a blue-purple and with acid turns a pink, bases turn it green. You can even use red cabbage to make your own ph indicator strips!
To dye my wool yarn I chopped up a red cabbage, boiled and strained it to get the liquid. I then soaked half the skein (wanting some variegation in the yarn) in the dye bath with a little alum added – only useing a small amount because the alum affects the ph and therefore the colour changes.
Removing the wool, it was a beautiful blueish-purple. For fun (and to see if it would last), I sprayed some lemon juice on a few sections, turning the yarn pink!
When rinsing out the yarn it sadly but expectedly changed the pink back. I then decided to soak the other half in the exhausted dye.
The final product is a pale blue after about a month and a half, which I’m happy with because I love the colour and actually expected it to fade a lot more.
I knit a hat with the yarn, and 4 months later the colour hasn’t faded anymore.
Have you tried dyeing with red cabbage? I would love to hear your comments or tips! :)
Having seen lovely blue and green dyes from irises, I harvested some of these yellow and deep purple ones for printing.
I bundled the irises and some pink rose petals into a cotton and silk blend, bias slip dress, and gently steamed it for around an hour. Unwrapping the bundle later, I was excited to find bright blues and almost neon yellow-greens.
The pink petals also gave off a little colour which works nicely with the blue. Hopefully I will have a photo of the full, finished dress soon!
A while ago I made this white, cotton & silk blend tunic part of a collection for my portfolio. It has been sitting around waiting to be dyed.
I found out that Herb Robert (geranium robertianum) produces a brown dye and noticing the little purple flowers around our yard, decided to use it for printing.
I used the whole plant except for the roots and positioned them to hopefully get an interesting pattern with the stems and leaf shapes. I then bundled the fabric and steamed it for about an hour, leaving it to dry overnight. The result was a nice print but the colour was a pale yellow. Wanting a stronger contrast I did a post-mordant with iron which produced some darker browns and soft grays.
I am happy with the results although I didn’t get a lot of clean leaf prints, I think this is due to the fact that the plant stems are very stiff and using the whole plant didn’t allow firm contact on the fabric, for printing again I would just use the leaves. Also I did notice that because of the iron the fabric is less soft which is unfortunate but expected with the silk fabric content (iron mordant isn’t recommended for protein fibres).
Overall I really like the effect but think it needs a little more colour so I will probably over-dye with a light ombre or another leaf print.
A collaborative, student-led, creative project for the Kwantlen graduation fashion show.
Model – Angie Clark
Makeup – Stephanie Adisaputro
Photography – Lumiere Studio and Seadance Photography
See more images from the photoshoot.
Cotton and silk wedding dress; pale blue structured bodice with gathered pleat overlay, tiered circle skirt, tulle crinoline, zipper closure, and removable flower belt.
Photography by Ryan + Beth Photographers