Sunday, December 15, 2013

Pickled cabbage is alright.....

While boiling up this red cabbage to make dye I can't help singing in my head an old song from the English music hall days about cucumber by Harry Champion. Anyone know it? No, I thought not. A hangover from my early childhood when the family used to gather around the piano at my Grandad's house in Charlton, and have a good sing-song over a few pints of ale. Parties would last all weekend, and us kids would get to sleep in the 'good' lounge chairs or in Nana's bed.

Anyway, getting back to the red cabbage. I had thought it would make a blue colour, but my batch turned out purple as you can see. I used rain water in a stainless pot with a dash of alum crystals for mordant. Although it's not blue, it is a beautiful dye colour.

I tested it out on silk. Funny tho', while the silk holds the colour well, after a couple of days in the jar the liquid colour fades, even in a dark place. And by god it gets really stinky. I'm too scared to take the lid off!

In search of the elusive blue, and for my next trick, I'm going to try dyeing with black beans, which you can still eat after you've used the soak water. My son tells me they make really good brownie....who would have thought?


  1. Beautiful pink! I know that years ago (not sure if it's still the case) the only way to get a natural blue dye was to use indigo and that the process was quite difficult:) So, good luck with your experiments!!!

    1. Thanks Sue. I'd love to try indigo but I'm pretty sure it doesn't grow in New Zealand. Will let you know how the beans go......


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