Hi, Jaime here! Once a month we get together with our staff and do fun things (it's called Fancy Fun Times!) This month we did some indigo dyeing and it was so fun we had to report. Indigo is one of the oldest dyes to be used for textile printing and dyeing. Each staff member brought something to dye in indigo dye pots that we set up. It was super fun and the indigo is fascinating and amazing to work with.
Indigo dyeing is a bit more involved than other dyeing I have done. First the cloth and yarn needs to be scoured before dyeing to remove any chemicals, oils, etc that may be in the fibers. Before dyeing you can also prepare the fiber with Shibori techniques, which is an ancient technique for folding fabric. This creates patterns in the fabric by folding, stitching, and otherwise preventing the dye to saturate all the fabric. Techniques like this can be very involved and create beautiful patterns. We are not trained in these techniques so mostly we did some fun experimenting with them.
The day before dyeing, I prepared a concentrate of Indigo dye solution in mason jars.
After we mixed our mason jar concentrate in our 5 gallon buckets we were ready to go. Each of us had numerous items we couldn't wait to get in those vats. For a deep indigo color, it is recommended to keep your fiber under the liquid for at least 10 minutes- man were we getting antsy to see the results!
When you take your fiber out of the vat it is a yellowish green color. As soon as it is exposed to air, the indigo dye starts to oxidize and the blue hues start to come out. It is amazing to watch the color change so quickly!
!Voila! We have all kinds of magical indigo dyed pieces. There was such an incredible array of indigo dyed fiber, each showing off our little individual touches.
Our dye came from Maiwa who sells all sorts of natural dyes and also has great information about indigo and other type of dyeing. Check back next month to see what we made with our fabric and yarns!