Friday, May 7, 2010

Dyeing with red cabbage


I didn’t buy the red cabbage, it appeared in my fridge, the first time I have ever owned one.

“The red cabbage (Brassica oleracea) contains pigments known as anthocyanins. Anthocyanins belong to a large group of water-soluble natural pigments responsible for the attractive colors ranging from strawberry red to the blue color of most fruits, flowers, leaves, and some vegetables. Anthocyanins are commercially used as a colorant in acid solutions such as soft drinks. At various H+ concentrations these compounds rearrange their molecular structures giving rise to different colours.”

red cabbage dye pot 1 red dye liquid sample 1

I decided to experiment. Boiling the cabbage gave the liquid the colour above right.

red cabbage dye pot red cabbage dye liquid 1

Into the pot I placed a hank of alpaca, with some silk roving and merino roving. An immediate colour change to ruby red. Mmm, maybe because of the alum mordant.

fibres dyed red cabbage alpaca dyed red cabbage

These are the colours achieved after a number of rinses – left pic from top: merino wool, silk and alpaca. I love the soft natural colours.

A big question mark at the moment is whether the colours will survive a wash or two or more. I’m not too hopeful after the reading I have done. But, nonetheless, it is all a fascinating learning experience.


Anonymous said...

Years ago I helped my sons with a primary school science experiment, using red cabbage as a pH indicator. A versatile vegetable!

T said...

love your dye work leslie. your eco dye and red cabbage is all good. you are getting some interesting tones. Hope you have a fanstastic holiday.


Lina said...

I like the misty rose colour you've achieved.

I've also made some dye experiments with red cabbage and iron liquor mordant. I've got blue fabric.