Skip to content

oh so blue

June 19, 2020

feel like treating yourself?

shop local

Knotty by Nature is open for business

you just need to wear a mask

or phone, Ryan will put together an order and leave it on the porch

there are goodies for everyone – spinners, weavers and knitters

every colour in the rainbow

Romney fleece – it is so-o soft and crimpy – one of the first breeds I ever spun and still one of my favorites

2/8 hemp yarn, it’s expensive but a pleasure to weave and washes beautifully

some of it went into the indigo vat

and this cloud of blended Merino, purple silk and qiviut (the inner down of Arctic muskox)

last year I started an indigo fruit vat

it worked – but it was a lot of work to maintain

and required significant amounts of perfectly edible fruit, mostly flown in

which had to be cooked, using electricity

so when do you draw the line at what is good for the environment??

it overwintered inside

in May, when it warmed up, I moved it outside and attempted to activate it

I brought the pH up to 11

added cooked, strained bananas, orange peel, sweet potato and fruitcose – lots of them!

stirred it every day and talked to it – for a month

finally, as a last desperate attempt, I dumped in a significant amount of thiorea dioxide

et voila – in 24 hours – there was blue

I gathered a few leftover cones of cotton, linen and hemp

wound them into skeins and scoured them

you may wonder if scouring is necessary

this is the colour of the water after an hour

it is the oil and dirt from commercial spinning and the dye will attach to it

as the fibre is removed from the dye bath it is green

indigo reacts with the oxygen in the air and slowly turns blue

this is the strongest vat I’ve ever created, just 3 dips and  dark blue

I was hoping for a variety of shades on the bleached and natural fibres but they are all pretty much the same

that’s o.k. – I’ll take it! – it’s going to be a blue, blue summer

these fellows came to visit – eating my hosta

the neighbor was building a new fence – deer are quick to see an opportunity

I chased them out and strengthened my side of the fence – go eat somewhere else

in this city of gardeners there is plenty to eat

P.S. Catharine Ellis has just posted a much more technical blog on indigo

Indigo Dyeing During Covid-19 Isolation

she is a very reliable source of information, it is well worth a visit


14 Comments leave one →
  1. Going Batty in Wales permalink
    June 21, 2020 2:59 am

    I love the depth of that blue (and Kate’s description of it!) The deer look lovely but I can understand you preferring them to stay out of your garden. I have seen reports of wildlife coming into urban areas more because of lockdown – I am not sure what the connection is just reading the stories – so maybe you are being invaded more.


    • June 21, 2020 11:06 am

      Sue – our very urban municipality has had a problem with too many deer for years. Last year they caught, banded and sterilized 20 does – when there are maybe a couple hundred, it cost thousands. Not sure it is going to make a difference!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. June 20, 2020 7:18 am

    that indigo warrants the dance!! i agree, no dance for the relentless deer. the other day we watched one be shooed away by a homeowner. all it did was cross the lawn and brazenly start chomping on his trees on the other side.


    • June 20, 2020 8:52 am

      Aimee – I keep adding barriers and fencing and still they come. Last year one of them figured out how to crawl under the cedar hedge.


  3. June 20, 2020 1:17 am

    that’s beautiful and so interesting. What do you use to scour? It’s a word I associate with Vim and Nan’s kitchen sink, and I’m very confident that’s not what you are using!


  4. June 19, 2020 8:47 pm

    That is a beautiful, lush blue, and a wonderful sheen on the yarn too. If I was going to wax all lyrical, I’d say it’s the blue of a tropical ocean at night with a little fluorescence in the deeps to light it up. There’s just the merest waft of green there…


  5. June 19, 2020 3:45 pm

    Wow, that IS blue!!! What gorgeous color!


    • June 19, 2020 7:08 pm

      Sue – I was very pleased with how dark it is with only 3 dips, hope it will keep going through the summer,


  6. June 19, 2020 2:37 pm

    WOW what a blue, that’s fantastic!! The deer, arg!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: