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the colour of summer

June 8, 2014

mystery and magic

aizome – indigo dyeing

P1040979the 30 gallon vat was getting tired

so – I spent hours emptying it into a bucket and watering the garden

then left the sludge in the bottom to dry in the sun – it goes to the chemical recycle

scrub the vat – a garbage can –  with a stiff brush – wear a mask, heavy gloves and protect all exposed skin


start the new vat

I got carried away in my enthusiasm – it’s a bit strong but that will correct itself

after the winter rest here are some points to remember

– scour fibres

– wet all fibres thoroughly before dyeing,  important with shibori

– keep both yarn and fabric moving in the vat

– work carefully – avoid introducing oxygen

– skeins of yarn need to be tied loosely and frequently – so they don’t get tangled with multiple dips

it is really nasty if they are impossible to wind into balls after all that work

– after the first couple dips loosely separate the strands in a skein so the oxygen can reach each strand

– the colour when wet is 2-3 shades darker than when dry

P1040993very old damask linen

first seen here


yesterday I had time to dip everything 5 times

with a plan to do several more dips today

P1040992from left;

2 skeins of bleached linen singles

handspun 2 ply hemp

 a single hemp yarn, approximately 2 lbs.on the cone in natural

P1050001Maiwa’s new symposium calendar has arrived

I’m trying not to drool on the pages

in a perfect world!! – but – I’ve narrowed down my choices

registration starts Monday, June 23rd at 10pm- I’m suppose to be at a meeting, yikes!

getting the workshop one wants is not a guarantee – popular ones fill up FAST

it will be my summer holiday this year.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. June 10, 2014 5:10 pm

    lordy, woman, this is fabulous! great color. ok, i’ll spell it the rich way, colour!


  2. June 10, 2014 12:29 am

    oh those blues!


  3. June 9, 2014 3:58 am

    You could do a set of “day of the week towels” that just depict the process you describe here–but you’d need more than 7 towels! Wow–what commitment!


    • June 9, 2014 6:49 am

      Kerry – I love the idea of updated towels. indigo dyeing is much more complex than most other dyes but I enjoy the process and the results are rewarding.


  4. June 8, 2014 10:49 am

    This post has inspired me to maybe finally try indigo. I do have one question, does indigo change color when using an iron dip? I was just planning to see if indigo might work in my next piece.


    • June 8, 2014 11:30 am

      Deb – I’ve never used iron on indigo, it darkens and saddens and is harsh on fibre – what are you wanting to achieve?. I want my indigo to glow and just do multiple dips for the depth of colour. The only time I mess with indigo is to overdye to get green. If you are planning to do some serious work it might be advisable to experiment and practice with a small vat first.


      • June 8, 2014 11:53 am

        I was thinking of tying a piece of cotton, dipping it in indigo and then printing a lino cut over top in cutch. I use iron on the cutch after it dries to get a dark silhouette appearance. I have had some success with only using the iron on the print area but there will be a little bleeding. I was just trying to predict in advance.


      • June 8, 2014 12:37 pm

        Deb – sound really interesting, will be interested in knowing how it works. good luck.


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