I had a bit of a search through the cupboards and the fridge, and found some beetroot at the back of the fridge. I hate beetroot (for a vegetarian I'm not a massive fan of most vegetables unfortunately), but I had bought it to dye wool with. You may have seen what happened the last time I tried to dye wool with beetroot, but here's a photo:
I've grown to like it, but it wasn't quite what I was after!
Anyway, back to food colouring. I didn't have any, and I wanted some! So I used the juice from the packet (I didn't want to use too much in case I ended up with beetroot-flavoured icing) to make baby pink icing. Here's the result:
So if you'd like to avoid food colouring for whatever reason, here's the recipe I used/made up:
175g of icing sugar
70g of softened butter
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp lemon juice
A splash of milk
3 tbsp beetroot juice
Basically it's buttercream icing with a couple of extras. I used the vanilla essence and lemon juice to make sure there was no beetroot flavour and it seems to have worked quite nicely. Now I want to try other colours! I bet turmeric would make a crazy bright yellow. Maybe spinach might be worth a try too.
Then, remembering the failed wool dyeing, I decided to try cold-dyeing some wool in beetroot juice. I mushed up 3 beetroots (I bought the pre-cooked ones) and strained out the bits. Then I poured in a random amount of white vinegar (about the same amount of liquid I already had) and put a 100g skein of unmordanted wool in.
I don't have any pre-mordanted wool at the moment because I haven't got round to it, so that's why I added the white vinegar to the dye instead. I don't know if it made any difference, but after just 2 hours I ran the skein under the tap and no dye came out! Here's the wet wool after I rinsed it. It will probably be a bit lighter once dry, but the colour looks great!
That white patch is kind of infuriating though...