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 here. You 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.