My Adventures in Knitting, truly my Yarn-escape!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Yarns - Right Turns and More Adventures in Black Bean Dyeing


Feb. 2018 Black Bean dyeing

     You know when you have your mind set on something and then nothing works out and you get down and discouraged?  My yarn didn't arrive for my Project Peace 2018, then honestly things were tight this week and to spend $5 for a pattern when we needed to buy food, well it wasn't going to happen.

     Project Peace 2018 started December 1st and it's my third year doing it.  We knit something peaceful and The Healthy Knitter posts lovely posts on how to personally reach for more peace in our lives, in hopes this would ripple out to the world.  I have found this project significantly affecting me every year.  Just the determined effort to focus on peace helps to bring more peace to my soul and it means a lot to me to do it again.  I'm reading the posts on peace, but on the knitting side, I'm a tad snarled, but as I think it through and make different choices, I feel better.  More settled, at peace.  Also, the act of writing this out helps (interesting) and makes it seem really, in the end, a very small deal.

     So these were my plans: because I couldn't swing the pricey but gorgeous yarn, I had plans of dyeing my Bare Sport Stroll Yarn yarn a light blue with black beans and then doing a light tea stain over parts of it to try and copy the colorway "Dove".  I'm still going to do it, but I'm accepting I need to rethink things a bit since the yarn hasn't arrived and my dyeing efforts are hitting some problems this time.  Even if all things go well, this yarn won't be dry till next week!

Feb. 2018

     But I started my Black Beans soaking for a blue dye in the hopes the bare yarn would come soon, and I knew testing the dye would be a good idea.  Wow, I did not realize that when I did my Black Bean dyeing last winter that I managed to do it flawlessly without hitting some pitfalls.  This time (thankfully with just little samples) I hit the mistakes!  Last year's Black Bean Dyeing - "Feeling The Blues" I go over lots of details on how to do it.  But now I've got a few pitfalls to avoid.

Last year's Black Bean dyed sweater

     First of all, I tied my little samples with that beautiful orange yarn that I had leftover from the A Sockhead Hat.  Guess what?  Orange yarn mixed with black beans water makes GREEN yarn!  Maybe that should have been obvious, a newbie mistake.  By the way, if you want a great green with Black beans add something copper (lots of help and hints like that in an ongoing thread on this Ravelry group "Plants To Dye For" - Color Variations for Black Beans).

February 2018

     Next mistake.  I remember using a very fine mesh sieve when I first took out my water after the beans soaked.  I just scooped this time.  Also last time I maybe I let the bean water sit a little longer after the last stir.  I'm trying 2 - 3 hours this time to let the bean debris settle.  Any bit of that bean debris and your yarn goes grey!  (To really understand what I'm talking about you need to read last year's post about Black Bean Dyeing  "Feeling The Blues", that is if you want to do it yourself.  Lots of details, but I read tons of blogs and a 9-year-old thread to understand the process.)

     Another possibility, which I'm not sure of is, are my beans too old?  My husband got me bags of beans when I experimented at the beginning of this year.  Beans last forever dried in terms of cooking them for eating, but are the outsides more crumbly?  I don't know.  So I'm now experimenting with half a bag.  Trying to cut down the proportion of bean I'm using to water for a lighter blue.  If after all that I get a cloudy water, I'll do a test and see what results I get.  I seem to remember one batch last year was cloudy a bit but worked fine.  But if I still get a bad result I'll get some organic beans from a local organic shop.  Expecting this to take a few days.

(KnitPicks is out of Preciosa now but will be reintroducing it in new colors this coming year)


     So while I'm waiting for my yarn I'm doing some thinking.  Project Peace 2018 started yesterday December 1 and goes for 21 days.  With dyeing and drying, I don't expect the yarn to be ready till next weekend.  So I did grab some beautiful green yarn I just discovered I have two skeins of and I'm starting a nice long and simple cowl called  Honey Cowl in Knit Picks Preciosa Tonal Worsted in a green called Bonsai.  It looks simple, a rhythmic knitting and will definitely be warm and cozy in Preciosa yarn.  I also discovered I have no green scarf or anything for December for my neck!  Yes, I have this thing about being color coordinated for the season.  I need green, of course it'll probably be done sometime into the next year!

     And when my yarn arrives and I figure out how to dye it light blue, then I'll add a light tea stain in places.  When it dries I'm thinking of doing a shawl instead.  A pretty shawl that I love the name and design.  I think it'll be a nice peace knit, that'll probably take me through the winter.  Maybe I need a long Peace Knit this year.  I actually found the effort to read about peace and focus on it had a big impact on me.  Just getting my hands on my project reminded me to almost "reset" to peace.  So I press on, my word yesterday for PEACE being Persistence.  It's just the right word.

February 2018 Black Bean dyeing

Want to try your hand at Black Bean Dyeing? Check out my adventures in dyeing: 

"Yarns - Feeling the Blues (Dyeing with Black Beans)"

Feb. 2018

Feb. 2018


  1. You are much more adventurous than I am - that dying of yarns is something I tried, but did not like my results. I wish I was more help! Can you redye those skeins?

    1. I guess you could say thankfully my skeins had not arrived and I was using little bits of a bare worsted I have. So nothing is wasted. Still no yarn and I've come to the conclusion I've been using old beans. I get grey no matter what. Last year was effortlessly blue. On one hand it's fun to try and dye yarn and on the other hand there are some beautiful yarns out there already done, ready to buy.

  2. I love the project peace cowls. I had no idea so much science is involved in the dye process. You and I both love blues.