Purple Carrot Dye

This week, I harvested the rainbow carrots from my square foot garden. I ended up with a couple of pounds of carrots and I knew what I’d use them for. You see, I’ve got a nine-month old baby, and not only can I say I make his baby food, but I also grow it. This is the kind of stuff parents are supposed to be keeping track of to determine who gets the #1 parent award, right? Something like that?

If only I ate as well as this kid did…

Well, when I began to chop up the purple carrots, I noticed my hands picked up a lovely stain. Naturally, I can’t leave well-enough along. So I set to steaming the carrots and collecting the dark purple liquid. A bit of surface research pulled up very little on carrot dyes. It was suggested in several places that it isn’t particularly light-fast and it seems that pH shifts the color toward red on the acid side and toward a grey-blue on the base side. Not promising, but nothing I couldn’t play with on an ounce of wool and an ounce of silk.

I didn’t have time to soak the fibers overnight or mordant them. I added a few tablespoons of vinegar to the pot and submerged my fiber. I had time tonight to steam just the largest of the purple carrots. I ended up with about a half-cup of dye stock, which I threw into the pot.

One large carrot and two ounces of fiber:

You can clearly see, it is somewhere between light red-purple and pink. Once I’ve had time to finish and dry it, I’ll share the results.

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