Indigo Dyeing

DSCN0458I finally broke out the indigo dye that I purchased from Dharma Trading Company a while back.  It’s a processed, somewhat easy-to-use formulation.  DSCN0454

I used the basic shibori techniques that can be easily found on the internet, along with plain old dyeing. One thing that’s fun is that when the items are removed from the indigo bath, they are blue-green.  They need about 15 minutes’ exposure to the air to darken.  Here is a photo of the back of the shirt fresh from the dyepot:DSCN0456

Just as with chemical dyeing, you’re going to have irregularities unless you agitate the item a lot in the dye bath.  Agitation is discouraged in indigo dyeing because it introduces oxygen, which can ruin the indigo bath for future use.

Here is some yarn and fabric that I dipped in the vat without tying any type of pattern.  (Yarn for sale here)

DSCN0489

To achieve the darker shade, you just repeat the process of dipping and leaving the item out for a while to oxidize. The darker-colored items were dipped about 3 times and also suspended beneath the surface of the dye once for about 15 minutes.

I dyed an additional skein, shown below, and was knitting it for 2 hours at the Spinners’ and Weavers’ Guild meeting.  I noticed that the color was coming off on my fingers, especially the left index finger where the yarn passes across (I’m a continental knitter.).  I asked a natural dyer how to prevent the dye coming off and she said, “Indigo does this.”canvas

I will certainly rinse the heck out of the cowl after it’s finished and hope that my neck doesn’t turn blue!  (Yarn base is Sterling Silk and Silver.)

And now for some links that you might find interesting:

How failure helps creativity article  from BBC.

“If one wants to be active, one mustn’t be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes.” More on Vincent Van Gogh’s quote here.

Folt Bolt on Facebook provides multiple bits of artistic eye candy per day in your feed, from ceramics to jewelry to textiles, all with links.

Really good thoughts on this blog,  zenhabits.net

A blog about running a craft business and lots of other fibre-y information, including a weekly podcast, www.whileshenaps.com

Jonathan Fields has a weekly podcast with guests who have thought-provoking commentary.  For instance, this week’s guest, Bronnie Ware, is the author of a book on the 5 major regrets that dying people express.

Have you ever said, “I wish…”?  There is a free, online book with super-practical ideas for turning your wishes into reality:  Wishcraft.

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