Red Cabbage & Turmeric

No, this is not a recipe.... not for food, anyway. After checking this book out from the library, I decided to give natural hand dyeing a shot. It was a lot of fun, and I'm definitely going to be doing more of this in the future - I loved the whole process! I had in mind a purple color mixed with hints of yellow, so I decided to give red cabbage and turmeric a try. First I simmered half a red cabbage for about 45 minutes to make the dye, then I stuck in my wool. Since this was my first try, I didn't want to use anything super nice, so I used a couple of skeins of Paton's wool in white I had in my stash.

I absolutely loved the color the dye made - such a rich purple! I added a little lemon juice to bring out the pink in the dye, then mixed in literally a sprinkle of turmeric. About 2 hours later (45 minutes for each lot), I had two washed skeins of.....

bright yellow yarn?

Obviously turmeric is a tad stronger than I expected. But I love it, nonetheless. The first lot came out just a tad brighter than the second, but it's not really noticeable in the photo. I'm not sure what this yarn will become, but I'll still use the two skeins together, just alternating rows. 

I've got lots more dyeing in mind, and really love the ability I have to experiment with it all. The best part? It's all natural, so I know I'm not exposing myself (or whoever wears the yarn) to any chemicals.


  1. So now you have three yellow skeins?

  2. Pdxknitterati5/24/11, 9:34 PM

    Whoa! That's not pink...

  3. JenniferSadler5/25/11, 7:10 AM

    nope, just two!

  4. JenniferSadler5/25/11, 7:10 AM

    haha! i'm going to try it again, without the turmeric this time!

  5. So neat!! I've been wanting to experiment with veggie dyes, and this is so interesting. 

  6. I want to try a coffee one. I have some baby onsies. Do you think that would be okay?

  7. JenniferSadler5/25/11, 6:31 PM

    It's fun! I got lots of veggies lined up to try - avocados, onions, red cabbage (sans turmeric!) - so many possibilities!

  8. JenniferSadler5/25/11, 6:33 PM

    Yeah, it should be fine! Make sure you soak the fabric for an hour beforehand, and while it's soaking make the coffee dye - heat the grinds or beans up to a simmer and when the dye is the color you want, you can scoop the grinds or beans out, stick the onsies in and wait until they're the color you want. Can't wait to see them!