Red Cabbage – Natural Dye

Using red cabbage as a dye is fun! Not only is it a beautiful colour but it has magical ph colour-changing properties too! However it is considered fugitive and unfortunately will fade (I’m currently testing to see exactly how and over what time period).

Red cabbage neutrally is a blue-purple and with acid turns a pink, bases turn it green.  You can even use red cabbage to make your own ph indicator strips!

Red Cabbage

To dye my wool yarn I chopped up a red cabbage, boiled and strained it to get the liquid. I then soaked half the skein (wanting some variegation in the yarn) in the dye bath with a little alum added – only useing a small amount because the alum affects the ph and therefore the colour changes.

Removing the wool, it was a beautiful blueish-purple. For fun (and to see if it would last), I sprayed some lemon juice on a few sections, turning the yarn pink!

Red cabbage acid

When rinsing out the yarn it sadly but expectedly changed the pink back. I then decided to soak the other half in the exhausted dye.

The final product is a pale blue after about a month and a half, which I’m happy with because I love the colour and actually expected it to fade a lot quicker.

red cabbage yarn

red cabbage yarn2

Haven’t decide what to knit yet but I’ll post a picture when it’s done and update on the colour fading.

Have you tried dyeing with red cabbage? I would love to hear your comments or tips!  :)


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