When Cathy (Luvswool) and I went to the Midwest Fiber Fair a couple of weeks ago, in our conversations I mentioned I had an indigo dyeing kit I’d like to try. With some discussion on the forum about the smell indigo produced, I wanted to try to do it while the weather was still nice outside. Neither of us had used indigo before, so, I invited Cathy to join me in a day of dyeing.
I didn’t have a plan for what I wanted to dye or any specific projects in mind to use the dyed materials. But Cathy came well prepared with plenty of roving and fabrics to dye.
To save some time, I had set up the buckets for wetting and indigo along with the plastic coverings before she came. It was an overcast day to begin with with a nice breeze across the yard.
We followed the instructions, mixing the indigo, then the chemicals and stirred it in then let it sit for an hour. But there was no bloom as described. We reread the instructions and stirred again; then decided to skim the top and begin.
After the first batch, we returned the runny bloom back to the bucket and let our fabric oxide. It all looked fine, so we continued the process with the rest. Once the first batch was fully oxidized we tag teamed and I washed and rinsed while she dipped the next batch. Strangely enough after the first batch the bloom began to grow.
With a brief break for lunch, we managed to get everything into the pot we both had to dye along with the breaks for letting the pot sit after stirring. It was a busy day with the dyeing, rinsing and washing. And the day got hotter and sunnier as we worked.
Cathy had spent the evening before rubber banding a large piece of cotton gauze.
She also brought along a big pile of Domestic 56s roving, some kid mohair yarn, nettle and lace table cloth, miscellaneous bits and pieces of fabric.
I dyed two blouses that were old, but stained, a very old handkerchief with my name on it, yarn, mulberry silk, pencil roving, thick and thin yarn, a linen doily, some merino and cheviot roving.
I had wadded up some cotton voile and rubber banded it all around. The end result is the piece draped on the chair. I like the random patterns it produced.
Cathy brought some corks with her, so I used the corks on a piece of silk gauze.
She also dyed some old thrift store “lace” bedspread pieces, an old linen pillow case, a piece of muslin and a cat mat.
Since it was getting late in the afternoon and Cathy had a long drive home, we packed up her goodies and she finished rinsing and drying some of her items at home the next day.
We were pleased with the outcome of our “Summer Blues” and the opportunity to give some old items new life and others some pretty blue color.