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indigo fruit vat

June 27, 2019

it rained!

not a lot – it woke me up in the night – what a wonderful sound

enough to soak 2 inches into the earth

hopefully it will dampen the forests and tame the wildfires

can you believe it – many of the 400+ British Columbia fires this season are caused by human carelessness?

with instructions from “The Art and Science of Natural Dyes”

I’m experimenting with the organic indigo fruit vat

using over ripe bananas – a total of 8 for a 15 litre vat, that’s just a guess and more may be needed

cooked for 40 minutes and then drained

it looks like the vat is starting to activateinstructions counsel patience

I’m waiting 48 hours and stirring occasionally

checking the pH – 11 looks good, it needs to be above 9 for cellulose fibres and reduced for protein fibres

blue cotton in the background was a test sample

spinning hemp to hopefully dye and use to weave on the backstrap loom

the light skein is hemp that has been scoured with Synthrapol, the dark skein is flax

after 1 hour the scouring water becomes a dark yellow/brown with an unpleasant smell

the bright yellow yarrow (Achillea) is ready for harvesting and I will use it to dye a bright yellow


4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 29, 2019 2:42 am

    We have hazy skies here, in New York near the Canadian border, and we’re told it’s smoke from your fires. That’s amazing to me. I hope you get more rain soon. I’m having a hard time getting my head around dyeing with old bananas . . .


    • June 29, 2019 7:35 am

      Kerry – not aware of any major fires burning in the East but last year was B.C.’s worst ever so hoping for a better summer this year. The fruit vat reduces the amount of chemicals used, later I might try my abundant grape and fig crops.


  2. June 27, 2019 3:29 pm

    Natural dyes seem to be 50% chemistry and 50% witchcraft! Congratulations on the rain, I hope it takes care of the fires. We have the same problem here, but thankfully it’s now winter and the vegetation is a little less tinder-dry.


    • June 27, 2019 4:32 pm

      Kate – oh yes, I do a little dance over the dye pot – indigo is particularly in need of incantations. Last year was our worst forest fire season ever, hoping it isn’t the same this year – very dry on the wet coast, climate change!

      Liked by 1 person

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