Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Indigo at Last

Wow, after struggling for a couple of days I finally got the Indigo pot straightened out and going. To the right is all the skeins of yarn waiting to be dipped, soaking in water. Indigo is what is known as a substantive dye. There is no need to mordant, the color is permanent. I will go into a bit more in depth on Indigo in the next post. These yarns will be dipped once, some twice, some three times with a few being dipped more. You can see little blue squares in the pictures. That is the masking tape I used to label each skein. There is a number that corresponds to the identification tag and then there is a Roman numeral indicating the number of dips the skein will have. So far the system has worked well. The tape is folded in on itself three times for security and the info marked with a permanent Sharpie. Other than the soaking time, the skeins are not immersed in liquid for long.
I started with the lightest colored skeins so I am mainly getting blues, greens, bronzy browns, and a few purples. I am about half way through. It will take a few days to finish. I will probably do a bit more dyeing since I have the pot up and running. I am finding it fairly easy to keep it going. Today I started dipping the dark colored skeins and am getting some lovely purples. Suddenly I have seemingly endless shade of greens and blues. I like the browns so far too, they tend to be on the dark bronze side.
There are advantages and disadvantages to dyeing so many skeins in Indigo at once. I can only dip about ten skeins at a time. The advantages are that I am beginning to get a feel for the temperment of the Indigo dye process. I now can tell when I need to add more Indigo or when I need to add more chemicals. One of the disadvantages is I am doing so many skeins that quality control isn't what I would like it to be. Most are just fine but a few are dyed a bit uneven. I actually like the uneven dyes. I think it adds to the beauty of the color.
Tomorrow is the Seattle Weavers Guild meeting. I am looking forward to the program given by Sara Swett. She is one of my favorite tapestry weavers. I have a lot to go over in the next few days so hang in there. -Renee


Elizabeth said...

I love the indigo- the whole range of colors hanging out there on the line is gorgeous!

CocuklaCocuk said...

I love indigo, too. I'm a chemical engineer and i'm working in production of denim in 10 years. But although i'm managing indigo dyehouse, i'din't try natural dyeing of indigo. I hope one day i'll try to.

dana said...

All right!! It looks like you are well on your way. Keep the pictures coming!