08 March 2013

The Name's Beans, Black Beans.

I've been reading about dyeing with black beans on Ravelry and after seeing other people's wonderful results I was itching to have a go. I bought some black beans from the Asian grocery store:
I then put some beans in a large container and covered with plenty of water to soak in a dark cupboard, the water turned a murky muddy reddish brown after a few days. Not sure what to expect I filled a glass jar with some murky bean water and dunked a skein of pre-mordanted (alum) white wool in there and left it to cook in the sun:
See how murky the water is? Not very inviting is it? So imagine my surprise when I took the skein out and saw the result:
A beautiful soft denim, bingo! ...  I love this kind of dyeing, not much fuss,  some basic preparation and then just let time and the sun do all the work, like magic ;-)

I also managed to finish the Cookies & Cream Baby Blanket I was making for a friend.
Now a few words about motif projects:
Pros: Portable - worked one at a time so you can take it anywhere and use any spare moment; Modular - you can easily adapt the pattern to suit your needs.
Cons: Ends, ends, millions of ends! If you don't like weaving in ends, like me, then you should think carefully before embarking on a project made with motifs. This blanket is made up with 66 motifs, that's 132 ends to weave in. At least I did "join as you go" so there was no sewing.
The verdict? You won't be seeing me starting another motif project anytime soon ;-)

Thanks for dropping by, there is more fibre arts fun at Wisdom Begins in Wonder. Indulge your creative side and join the party!


  1. But it is very pretty, even if it is never "ends"ing! The yarn dying is amazing. Who would have thought denim would be the end color. Lovely.

  2. That's brilliant, am definitely going to have a go, the colour is lovely, thanks for sharing.

  3. Missed your blog last week, and now can't help but wondering what your guys think about all these dye-ing projects in the kitchen or around the house. First the eucalyptus branch, then coffee pot, now beans. If it's here, for certain someone would mistaken that jar with the yarn and bean juice as strange looking spaghetti and get all puzzled when it turns out inedible. On the other hand, the bean-dyeing is very inspiring! I would have never thought of that. Must try!

  4. Finally! A good use for beans ;-)

    Denim blue is beautiful in yarn.

  5. Ok, I love, love, love both the dyed skein and the blanket. I wonder if, on the beans-as-dye, the mordant interacts with the bean residue in order to get that great blue color. I don't know enough about chemistry to determine what, if any, chemical dace the alum and the protein in the beans do. :)

    Don't give up on motif-based projects!!!!! I make a lot of them, so I do feel your ends-weaving pain.

  6. Wow, I love that color. Who knew that it could be so simple.

  7. Beautiful colour that gentle blue! We have lots of beans but haven't seen black. I'm often thinking to try if I could dyie with the green water that comes when we boil wild local greens (as a salad). Also the yarn you dyied with coffee, is most beautiful! x Teje