November 20, 2011

Indigo for Dummies...

I am a doer! I found I learn best when I actually get my hands dirty and do it. A bit of this and a bit of that, that I learned about indigo dye in the past year have encouraged me to get out my indigo kit I had for ages and to do it! Having read a thesis on dyeing for life dedicated to Indian indigo, I thought it was time to try my own vat. The instruction in the kit was quite straightforward. Fill the container with lukewarm water and empty the dye powder followed by the reducing agent. Stir gently in one direction and then the opposite direction until all the content is dissolved. Surely not all that hard I thought! 

Frothy foam formed on the top of the mixture, yes that's right. It's supposed to do that and the smell yes, it smelt the same as the one I used in Japan. I put the lid on and did a little happy dance. I went back and did some test dyeing and it was very dark after one dip. I think my container is smaller than the one indicated on the package. It didn't matter because it saved me having to dip twice or three times.


Today I arranged to meet up with Lynda and Jacky for lunch for Lynda's birthday "Happy Birthday Lynda". For a treat I asked them to bring some fabric to dip in my indigo vat. I gave each of them a sample piece to try. We are holding the sample pieces in different stage of oxidation. My piece had been oxidised the longest then Lynda's on the left and Jacky's on the right. 


Here is my indigo vat for dummies! It looks just right if you ask me. I wish you could smell that sweet indigo smell! 


The container is not big enough for the three of us. I let Lynda and Jacky have a go together. They were very good students and did everything I told them.  I can see how excited they both were! 


I got them to do chopsticks dyeing with their cotton pieces. Chopstick dye is the blocked method (Tenugui). You can see some samples of them hereYou can tell how happy Lynda was when she unfolded her piece. You always get an exciting result using the chopsticks dyeing method. 


Jacky was also very happy with her piece. I didn't tell them what to expect when they started the process, but the result speaks for itself. Lynda tried dyeing some threads to use in her traveller's blanket workshop she is doing online.


This is how much I dyed in the last couple of days. Some pieces of cotton, silk and overdyed pieces. I did dye some threads too. I am so happy with how they all turned out. I will work on some shibori stitching project to dye next. So if you are a doer like me and have always wanted to try indigo dye vat, just do it. It's not all that hard. Indigo is for dummies like me...!


I had a vase full of roses that need changing. The roses weren't all bad so I thought I would bundle them up and eco-dye what was left of them. I used both leaves and petals in the bundle and even sprinkled some olive leaves on there for good measure. 


Not to waste time and energy I made up two more bundles of fig and olive leaves. This is the first time I tried olive leaves. I was told that they dyed great. The bottom left bundle is with rose petals and leaves, the bottom right is olive leaves, and the top bundle is fig leaves. I steamed them for about an hour and I will leave them in the pot for a few more days before I unwrap them. 

It was nice to have a couple of weeks break from blogging and the internet. I now feel that I can survive being offline for awhile. I do miss getting emails from friends, but here I am again and will catch up with everyone soon.



Enjoy
Nat







20 comments:

aracne said...

How lovely, I badly want to try indigo dyeing myself. Once I try it, I think that I will be hooked for life.
I admire your energy in trying different ecodyeing processes. Will the dye last?
And I do love your smiling face!

Lis said...

Wwelcome back Nat, I'm glad you enjoyed your cyberspace-free break but you were missed. Your indigo dyeing looks great fun and I love the outcome of that chopsticks method you mentioned. Don't get too far ahead of us indigo virgins will you ha ha?

Kathie said...

welcome back!!!! I I love what they have done, and I can see how happy they are by the smiles !

great job and sure looks like a lot of fun too!
can't wait to see what you make with these BEAUTIFUL fabrics

Kathie

deanna7trees said...

what a great birthday present for Lynda. love seeing and hearing about all of your bundles. looking forward to the big reveal. i missed you. glad you're back.

Jeannie said...

Welcome back! You have been missed, but it looks like you have been having fun. That is important! Your indigo results are wonderful. Looking forward to the reveal of the bundles. Wishing you a fun filled week.

Needled Mom said...

It's good to have you back. The indigo projects are amazing. I think I need to research chopstick dying as it looks fabulous. I can't wait to see what happens when you open the others.

kaiteM said...

glad you've finally got that indigo kit out and used it, a reminder to me to use mine again this Summer too, tho it's not hot enough yet. I'm curious as to what the chopstick dyeing is? welcome back

homeschooled said...

Nice to see you again!
I am soooo jealous. I saw some dye like that at the last quilt show (didn't buy it though ).
What a fantastic result!
I want to do it too.

Terry said...

Nice to see all of you sharing. I know you enjoy that part of your craft.
Your indigo is lush. Enjoy the messing about.

Bev C said...

Hello Nat,

This was a lot of fun,interesting to see how the different shapes came out in the designs. Looking forward to your latest lot of olives roses etc. That blue pot looks so much fun to put your hands in. I can imagine children loving to do this.
Happy days to you Nat.
Bev.xoxo

Nancy said...

Nice to see you back and with such a feast for the eyes!

Sue-Anne said...

Looks like you have been having great fun with all the dyeing. the blues look fantastic!

Nedra said...

So nice to have you back! Your friends are very lucky to be able to gather at your home and have a one on one tutorial. The fabrics turned out beautifully.

onesmallstitch said...

great blues, looks like everyone had a super time. was the indigo natural or chemical?? can't wait to see the eco bundles, good to have you back.

ParisMaddy said...

Happy hello to you, Nat. The fabric looks amazing. The color levels came through beautifully on my screen. It looks really fun. I wish you were closer so I could be your student. (I'll behave:)

Hoola Tallulah said...

Wow beautiful results, looks like everyone had a great time :)

sheila at shecological said...

Hi Nat, Indigo dying is so fun and it looks even better when it is shared with friends. I had a kit that I got at a class. I never used it and had to leave it behind when I moved here. I will have to get another one. do you know of a good source? (BTW, how was your trip?)

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

WowNat how did I miss this post....the colours are absolutely stunning...you are showing me things I know nothing about xo

Anonymous said...

What a FUN day Nat. Loved the experience of dyeing in your indigo vat (and will be keen to know how long it lasts...how you look after it).
I was showing the girls today (Ro, Patsy and Dot) my gorgeous pieces.
Jacky xox

woman with wings said...

Nat, how fun to read about and see your indigo dyeing! I, too, have a box of indigo dye powder up in the closet waiting. ;-) The fabrics are gorgeous -- that chopstick method so striking, wow -- and having friends to dye with, you are a lucky woman! xo

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