Thursday, June 4, 2009

Natural Dyeing with Indigo


We love to do natural dyeing at home, but there are some dyes we only use when we are at the Griffin Dyeworks Dye & Fiber Retreat. Indigo is definitely one of those unique, natural dyes that is best done with masterful dyers around!

Dyeing with indigo is unique -- you can see in these pictures how Ricky is dyeing his handspun yarn. First, he dips the yarn into the blue dye pot, then he pulls it out right away. The yarn looks green! Oxidation occurs. Eventually, the yarn turns blue. If he wants it darker, he can dip it again.


We dyed our own handspun wool yarns, some silk ribbon and a few silk scarves with indigo dye this past week while at the retreat. Some were redipped for a darker color, while others were first dyed with other plants, and then overdyed with indigo. Here are some of our creations:


1. Brazilwood, then Indigo = lavender, purple, indigo colors
2. Broom, then Indigo = blue-green, lime green colors
3. Onion Skins, then Indigo = med.-deep green colors
4. Broom, then Indigo, then in the Brazilwood rinse water = aqua color

Mommy had fun using the rinse waters to change the tones a bit and ended up with some light, fairy colors! Can't wait to make the yarns into a family project. The silks will be used in our nature table and around the Dell for homelearning activities and play.

8 comments:

lyneya said...

How cool! I didn't know indigo could turn into so many colors!! What a neat experience. :)

Lisa said...

The yarn is so beautiful. I love how you post about your natural dyes. I have a large 100% white wool blanket that I plan to try some natural dyes with.

Lisa :)

Tammie Lee said...

You do such wonderful things together as a family! These colors are so vibrant and wonderful.

Mona said...

Oh, the colors on your handspum yarn are amazingly vibrant and beautiful! I haven't tried indigo yet, but hopefully I will this summer - you certainly have inspired me to give it a try :)

Michelle said...

Those colors are just beautiful! I think you've actually found the exact match to my son's eyes :-)

How wonderful for your children to share these experiences with you...ones they'll never forget!

Bjo Trimble said...

Indigo should not be feared! It is so very easy to use the "instant" indigo crystals. No long involved fermented vat to set up and hope it works out, no dangerous lye. Just add soda ash, thiox and the indigo, stir, wait a minute, and dye! Everyone can have major successes with our indigo. -- Bjo the Dyelady

Tan Family said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Bjo! Each year I get a little more courageous when it comes to dyeing as a result of attending the retreat. Your indigo crystals make it easier. My next step is to do some indigo dyeing at home this year. :)

Bjo Trimble said...

Good for you! I know the children really enjoyed dyeing with indigo so it should become a family project to do more of it at home. -- Bjo the Enabler