Have you noticed that when peeling and cutting beetroot the colour leeches out and stains the chopping board, your fingers, kitchen hand towels and any cloths you might use to wipe down the work surface? I am regularly scrubbing my fingers free of the beautifully coloured deep red-purple juices which seem to flow so freely.
So, after boiling my beetroot I kept the red water and all the peelings and added my fabric and some vinegar to it, cooking it for 30 minutes. Having just examined my ‘treasure’ I find that the peelings have disintegrated into jelly like slime, the water has turned a murky brown and my fabric looks marginally aged and a bit less clean.
The Knitters Review forum tells me that beetroot is considered a stain rather than a dye. Well it stains my fingers, my cloths and my wooden chopping board but not the actual item I want staining – my fabric. They go on to advise that it is not lightfast or washfast and will quickly fade to a brownish colour. Hmmmm….. I couldn’t actually get further than the brownish colour.
Backyard Homesteading has a great article on beetroot dyeing and has a step by step on how to do it, even explaining fabric choice and preparation. I was very encouraged looking at the wonderful colour in the progressing pictures. Then I saw the final rinsed dyed (originally white) skirt ………. and it has ended up a pale beige/brown exactly like my fabric has turned out.
Looks like I didn’t do anything wrong, just had a pre-conceived idea that I was going to get a deep pink colour. Maybe I should take it out of the washing machine before I lose what was obviously a successful experiment albeit with a result I didn’t anticipate.