Indigo Adventures

This week I dyed with Indigo for the first time. Of all my natural dyeing so far, I enjoyed this the most. It was sciency fun! Dyeing with Indigo involves removing oxygen from the dye vat, then when the yarn is removed and oxygen is reintroduced to the yarn the magical colour change occurs. Colour can be deepened by repeating the soak and expose process.

I had two skeins dyed with onion skins, a skein dyed with dandelions and two undyed (just pre mordanted with Alum). I also had two skeins of chunky wool previously dyed with walnut husks. When dyeing wool I don’t aim for a uniform colour, instead I try to show the variations that can be achieved with colour, often giving the wool a variegated or dappled effect. With indigo especially I also wanted to try a tie-dye effect. Each skein was immersed for approximately 5 minutes, with one of the undyed skeins being left in for 20 minutes. At the end of the process I immersed the two chunky skeins for an hour (the dyebath by this point was beginning to be exhausted).

The colours went from this:



To this:
The two onion skin and indigo dyed skeins turned green, the slightly darker shade achieved with an extra 5 minutes in the dyebath.

The dandelion and indigo dyed skein gave a mostly blue result. I expected this, the dandelion dye had given a very poor yellow colour and I wasn’t expecting a nice green to emerge.

The undyed skeins both dyed a great traditional indigo jeans blue, two differing shades due to the length of time in the dye vat.

The final two walnut husk dyed chunky wool skeins began life as a rather boring mid brown shade. Overdyed with Indigo (and tie-dyed in places) they emerged looking like a pair of slightly worn blue jeans.

The whole exercise has shown me how much value indigo has as a dye. And how much fun it can be to do too.

The next dyeing session will also be with indigo. I am going to dye a series of 25g and 50g skeins to achieve a range of blue shades to sell as an Indigo Ombre packs. I will also be dip dyeing and tie-dyeing 100g skeins. Vive le Indigo Revolution!


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