Today I got the chance to do something that I’ve wanted to try for a long time.
I love blue. Any blue at all. But especially the denim blue shades which indigo dyes produce.
I was lucky enough to get to spend a large chunk of today with Jenny Dean . Bliss.
I learnt how to set up an indigo vat. It seems nice and easy, but I suspect I’ll do a fair bit of trial and error when I have a go on my own. Jenny has that lovely skill of being able to teach you lots of information while keeping it all straightforward, and if you ever get the chance to take a class with her grab it with both hands.
Then the dipping started.
It’s so different from the dyeing processes I usually use – that involves yarn being in a dye pot for about 30 minutes until the dye exhausts. Some of the yarns below weren’t in the dye bath for as much as 30 seconds.
Indigo dyeing is magic in that the yarn in the dye bath looks a greenish yellow. It’s removed, given a quick rinse and as the air reaches the skein you see the blue appear.
We got a lot done – much more than either of us expected.
I dyed 6 skeins in solid colours.
The colours change over time, so a longer immersion in the dye bath means darker yarn. A stronger dye bath also means darker yarn, as each skein removes some indigo from the pot.
Then there were 4 more playful skeins where part of the skein was dipped, then the whole skein was dipped, so there’s a beautiful colour variation. I also managed one tie dye skein where I put a knot in the skein and immersed it in dye – it’s the blue and white skein shown below.
The last experiment was to see how yarn that I’d already dyed would look after a dip in indigo dye. Jenny wasn’t sure if the chemicals would strip the acid dyes I use from the yarn. Happily the answer was no, and I have a couple of sets of take 5 yarns which look very different from what they did this morning.
These skeins were the olympic rings colours – so red, green, yellow, blue and black.
This was another take five set in colourway draw breath. These went into the bath right at the end of our dyeing session when there wasn’t a huge amount of indigo left, so the colour change is more subtle.
An added bonus was that I managed to come home without blue hands.
I can’t wait to play with this some more. Perfect bank holiday blues.