I have to apologize for my oversights, my rushing. I like to suss things out. To dig in up to my elbows for a bit, and then stand back and think on things before I jump back in the middle again. But this requires time, and life has other ideas about what I’m supposed to be doing. I rarely find the long, meandering swaths of hours that it requires for me to fully go deep into the Fetch and dance with my creative mojo. Instead I have to steal minutes here and there and I end up hurrying through steps I’d rather linger over. I forget my camera. I forget my notebook. I lose the flowing narrative and instead piece together fragments and partial thoughts and hope for poetry.
So it was when I dyed with forbidden rice.
This bag of black rice had been sitting in my pantry for months waiting for me. I finally stole a moment for it. Haphazard. Slapdash. Hardly the way one should treat something forbidden. But that’s how it happened, and that’s what I must own.
Dyestuff: Forbidden rice
Part used: The grains of rice
Sourec: Whole Foods bulk bin
Ratio of dyestuff to fiber: 412g of rice to 38g of fiber; just under 11:1 ratio.
Yarn: Catnip Yarns Kona Superwash Worsted 38g, mordanted with 8% aluminum potassium sulfate and 7% cream of tartar. I’m not usually a big fan of superwash, because the processes used to make yarn superwash are typically not terribly sustainable, and they frequently over-process the wool and make it lose its character. This yarn, however, is absolutely scrummy. It is super, super, super soft and has a beautiful sheen. Absolutely lovely. I don’t know how they did it, but next time I need superwash, it will be Kona for sure.
Extraction: I soaked the rice in tapwater overnight (about 10-12 hours). Pretty much just like I’d do black beans. Didn’t measure pH. Gasp!
Dyebath: I strained out all the rice through a colander and reserved the liquid. It didn’t seem to have as much particulate in it as black bean juice does, so I did not bother with ladling the liquid off the top of the bowl and instead used all of it. I put the dyebath and yarn in a stainless steel bucket and left it outside.
After roughly 40 hours, I rinsed the skein in plain water and hung it to dry.
The results? A colour I like to call Sickly Lavendar. Or Lavendar Lite. Or Maybe One Day I’ll Grow Up and Become A Real Lavendar!
It’s got a couple spots that lean toward blue. The overal colour is a little mottled, which actually makes the effect more interesting, I think. After doing this experiment, I went on Ravelry and did a search to see if anyone has played with black rice. A few people talked about it, but I only saw one actual result, and it was a very pretty deep lavendar-blue. The difference? She didn’t treat it like black beans at all—-she simmered hers! Clever! I’m thinking about getting more rice and either overdyeing this skein or dyeing a new skein with the hot technique to see the difference.
It’s been fun these last months playing with dyes from foodstuffs. It makes me look at everything I eat with an eye for the potential dye hidden under the surface…
Live happy, dye happy!