Thursday, April 14, 2011

Indigo vat dyeing

This is my first time experimenting with indigo vat dyeing.  I followed the instructions in my natural dye book.  Next time I will likely follow a different set of instructions as I'm not particularly fond of spectralite.  I've heard of methods using simple fermentation that sound much more appealing to me.  I am, after all, versed in wine and bread-making so it should be no issue. Following are some images of my efforts. 

It is important to remove all of the oxygen from the dye.  This what the spectralite does.   Reduced indigo is yellowish or bronze.  Oxygenated indigo is blue.  Other additives are salt, dish soap, and soda.  Pretty common stuff.
The stock jar of reduced indigo.  It has a distinctive smell.

Straight-up indigo-dyed muslin rag yarn

Exhausted indigo vat
Stained yellow gloves
Columbian cross wool dyed with weld and indigo to varying degrees

Columbian cross and llama dyed for different lengths of time in the vat.
Indigo and tea-stained muslin rag yarn
This dyeing method also varies from other traditional methods in that it requires no boiling and cooling, etc.  One simply dips the fiber to be dyed in the vat until  the desired shade is achieved.

I found myself dunking in anything I could find, including some old pink towels that didn't match our "decor".

One of the most beautiful greens can be achieved with the use of weld, another plant dye.  Then the wool is put through the indigo.  Yellow and Blue make GREEN!

Tea-staining gives the indigo a nice faded blue jean coloration.

Sandalwood, which I have grown fond of for it's
easy pinks, makes a great (albeit unpredictable)
color combination when dyed with indigo.  I found that the spectralite tends to remove the pink if it is pre-dyed.  I'm hoping the fermentation method will eliminate this side effect.
Sandalwood and indigo-dyed muslin rag yarn

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