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Indigo -Two weeks later

August 12, 2009

Recently Updated1

After two weeks of off and on fermentation, I have finally tried the indigo.   The original blue is bluer, the white has a bluish cast.  (top left original colours – lower left indigo)  It shows mostly on the fringes.   I didn’t have enough of a pot to keep dipping to darken the colour, once it has reduced again I will dip again.

I have learnt a few things that I didn’t find in any directions for a fermentation dyeing process.

Unless you are wanting everyone to leave the house (including yourself!) – keep the fermentation pot outside and away from the house or keep the windows and doors  closed.  This will require some thought if fermenting is the chosen method because keeping it at 100F is difficult.   So stir the pot every day to make sure any indigo settled on the bottom reduces and of course not incorporating air into the vat (that would be counterproductive!)    Wear  heavy rubber gloves (without holes in them) and a long rubber apron and perhaps boots when you begin the dipping.  If you do happen to splash some onto your shoes, clothing, arms… use strong soap and vinegar to wash it off – quickly .   Rinse everything that came in contact with the solution with vinegar – away from the house.   Hang your newly blued item downwind because even after a good rinse with vinegar in the water it will continue to smell (and it is truely revolting – the flies love it).   (How does one get this smell out!)  Use a larger vessel for your vat – and don’t fill to the top (leave lots of room for your yarn/fabric (this will also help the splash effects).

I used a silk scarf woven awhile ago that I wasn’t pleased with (that was lucky – I still don’t  think it is a wonderful design and I hoped I could get more blue to cover it up!)  It was woven in a medium blue on a white warp.  I washed it well with a small amount of synthropol and then dipped it into my jar and pulled it out.   The indigo colour was immediately noticeable especailly on the fringe.  I dipped it a number of times letting it air well between each dipping.

The colour change wasn’t as spectacular with this because it started out with blue, but it is changed (for the better I think, despite the smell).

Next experiment I will use the lye/thiourea dioxide method I think, although perhaps the madder, bran and soda ash isn’t as smelly?

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