Saturday, September 08, 2007

Indigo dyeing

Indigo stock Yesterday I mixed up my indigo stock using indigo powder from Earthues. It turned the appropriate sickly yellow, which reminds me of clean motor oil. Needless to say, I was pleased. I had an irrational fear that I would not get this right without my spinning and natural dyeing teacher there to hold my hand. To riff Sally Field, it worked; it really, really worked. So just be sure it really worked, I let it sit overnight. I didn't want to be cursed and find out that it had re-oxygenated and turned blue. The dye fairy was on my side. It stayed motor oil yellow.

Soaking in preparation for the indigo pot Last night, I set the fiber to soak. 2 oz. each of undyed merino tencel blend, BFL, and merino. I had previously dyed the merino with onion skins. While pleased with the color, it's not one that looks especially good next to my skin. The BFL was originally dyed with lac then over dyed with madder. I was feeling so-so about the color and thought a dip in indigo might help me get over it.

Indigo dyeing set up Today after my morning walk to Peet's on Piedmont, I set up my makeshift indigo dyeing kitchen, which happens to be my balcony. Last week I bought an inexpensive hotplate just for this purpose--I don't want an indigo kitchen after all! I'm using an old stock pot that I've had forever as a dedicated indigo pot. My black solar dyeing tub is set up to hold the fiber once I remove it from the dye pot. I knew it was a great investment when I bought it. I've got a tub of clean water next to the solar dyeing tub so I can rinse my gloved hands and not turn the handle of the sliding screen blue if I needed to go inside.

Undyed merino tencel first indigo dip Onion skin dyed merino first indigo dip Lac-madder BFL first indigo dip Each of these photos shows the result after one dip in the indigo pot. I ended up dipping the undyed merino tencel about five times. I dipped the yellow four or five times and the red around seven times. I didn't keep good track of the numbers of dips; I just went for color I like. Right now, the fiber is resting in a plastic bag. I'll probably let age a week before I rinse it. You may ask why I rest it, and it is a good question. The only answer I can give is that this is what Claudia told me to do when I learned indigo dyeing from her. So I follow her lead.

1 comment:

Julia said...

You are a brave, brave woman! And it looks like your courage and careful planning was rewarded - the fiber looks fantastic!