Thursday, November 03, 2016

A First Foray into the Indigo Vat: Five on Friday



October was a very wet month. Not record-breaking as far as rainfall, but only 4 days without rain during the month. Soggy, soggy. Photography suffers on gray days. I did want to tell you about our adventures with indigo, so here goes. I've condensed it into 5 main steps to fit with Amy's Five on Friday. 
In the above photo, there are two thrift store vintage cotton damask napkins that I dyed. Here's how we did it - with many thanks to Ashley for her expertise. Oh, and the lemons were the last ripe ones on our tree before it was covered up for the winter. I hope to make some lemon curd this weekend.


photo blurry due to photographer's malfunction - didn't check the settings

1. First step was manipulating the fabric. We folded, tied, scrunched, and stitched. The idea is that by folding the fabric tightly, in a variety of ways, different patterns will emerge. Some pieces were folded on the bias and wrapped around plastic tubes, then tied. Others were folded and sandwiched between pieces of wood. The possibilities are endless. The dye penetrates less into the midst of the folds, leaving that wonderful shaded effect. 
Real pros can achieve precise grids and patterns - we just played, but we were happy with the results. 



2. Ashley prepared the "vat" - a plastic pail. Temperature is critical, so she placed the vat into the bathtub and surrounded it with warm water. Chemicals assist in de-oxygenating the water to help the dye work. Here she's just added the indigo.



3. These two pieces soaked in the mixture for 20 minutes or so, and were then removed. See how pale and green they are? Well, that didn't last long - once the soaked fabric is exposed to oxygen, we saw the change happen before our eyes.



Here's another piece coming out - pale blue after just a few seconds. All those tufts are plastic ties that took the dye differently.


4. We laid out the wet, and still tied pieces to oxygenate for 20 minutes while another batch soaked in the indigo. Then we switched them around. Depth of colour is achieved by the repeated soaking and oxygenating. We did 3 dips, but the pros may do up to a dozen.



5. After the fabric sat overnight, we untied all the threads and strings, threw the fabric into the washer and dryer and there we have them - pretty indigo dyed fabrics. Just visible at the right of the above photo, taken this morning in my back yard, is a deeper blue piece - that was a piece of natural linen, not white. A very different effect.


I picked up 5 damask linen napkins at a thrift store awhile ago and decided to dye them. Each one was folded into a different pattern. It's hard to decide which one I like best. The soft effect of the dye is so pretty and I hope to do more of this again. 



Our days have been so dark well into the morning - this photo was taken around 9 am. This afternoon, however, when I left school, the sun shone so brightly that I had to dig to the bottom of my bag for my sunglasses. I'm not complaining! I went for a walk with my daughter and granddaughter and we thoroughly enjoyed the lack of wet. 

Linking with Five on Friday, hosted by Amy of Love Made My Home. 

46 comments:

Charm and Grace said...

Beautiful, Lorrie! I love the blue and white and am fascinated by the way the indigo dyed the fabrics first light green and then blue. Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos and the story!

Blessings...

mamasmercantile said...

They are all beautiful. I didn't realise you had to dip them several times, what a great process and even better to share the fun.

Rosemary said...

The napkins look really attractive Lorrie, and you all had so much fun creative fun together too.
Good luck with your homemade Lemon Curd - not only one of my favourite things to make but also eat. Nothing better than some lovely crusty bread topped with homemade Lemon Curd.

Mary said...

What a great craft - I love the outcome of your once plain napkins, they are really awesom Lorrie.

Yum, lemon curd is delish - after chunky orange marmalade, it's my favorite spread. I also swirl it in plain Greek yogurt for breakfast - homemade, and from your very own lemons, will be doubly special!

Linda aka Crafty Gardener said...

They turned out lovely Lorrie, napkins to treasure and enjoy

Vee said...

Oh that is a lot of rain for a month. Hope that November proves more sunny. So you had to create your own sunshine with this neato experiment. Doubt that I could bring myself to try this with damask linens, but I do have a few t-shirts that I'd love to experiment on. Create on, Girls...what's next?

Rosie said...

Looks like great fun and the napkins look very pretty:)

Pamela Gordon said...

Oh, I just love the effect of the indigo dye on the fabric. Your project came out beautifully. I heard from my sister in Chilliwack that they had the wettest October on record there. We haven't had a lot of sun here the past 2 weeks either but not a lot of rain either. Just gloom. I hope you have a nice weekend.

Crimson Kettle said...

It must be quite exciting waiting to see how the patterns turn out. A very nice shade of blue too.

Gina said...

The end results of your dyeing were beautiful. It's always exciting not quite knowing how things will turn out. I have to admit feel a little envious when you described getting leomons from your own tree. How wonderful!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Lorrie, I've never tried anything like that. You got beautiful effects. I can't decide which I like best either.

Coastal Ripples said...

Thank you for sharing that. Sounds like a fun thing to try. Your napkins look fabulous. Amazed at how the oxygen changes the colour. :) B

Patsy in Nixa, MO said...

A lot of work, but worth the effort. I like the blue next to the yellow lemons.

podso said...

We'll take your rain. Love seeing your indigo story. It is a little like how we tie-dyed t-shirts for something long ago. But I do love the just blue. These remind me of a dress I have from our days living in West Africa, And I love your napkins!

Sharon Koole said...

The ending fabric is really beautiful. You did a wonderful job dyeing it. The contrast between the blue and the yellow of the lemons is stunning. Hope your lemon-curd making goes well.

Happy Five on Friday

happywonderer.com said...

What a wonderful undertaking and result! I've always been partial to blue...
Oh these two days of sunshine have been so welcome. So nice to pull out the sunglasses. Hope you have a great weekend.

Monica said...

They're absolutely stunning! All the colors you showed in this post, really.
What a beautiful, unique and creative addition to any table.

Holly Hollyson said...

Wow - what a great idea, they look so lovely when complete. I would love to try something like this. Happy Five on Friday!

NanaDiana said...

WOW!!! Lorrie, I LOVE them. What a fun project. Who knew that the green would turn blue like that? I have always loved Indigo and these are absolutely GREAT! Quite a process but look at the outcome. xo Diana

Deanna Rabe said...

Thanks for sharing this with us, Lorrie! Its fascinating and looks like a lot of fun!

camp and cottage living said...

It's been so rainy here too, Lorrie.
I love how your fabrics turned out. You ladies sure have many ways of manipulating those fabrics! Any ideas now on how to use the finished cloths?
Have a great weekend-Kim

materfamilias said...

What a great result from what looks like a fun way to spend time together, mother and daughters. And it seems to me that would be a good way to rescue/recycle old white linen pieces with stains that just won't budge. I have just such a piece (or did have, at least -- will have to check whether it survived the great moving purge), hmmmmm.
Have a great weekend!

Mac n' Janet said...

They look professionally done, so soft and pretty. Other than the hurricane that dumped 13 inches of rain on us we've had no other rain the whole month.

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

What a great project, Lorrie! In love the soft effects of the dye on the napkins. Your photo with your very own lemons is outstanding! Enjoy making your lemon curd.

Happy@Home said...

Your finished products are just gorgeous, Lorrie. I love the shades of blue you achieved. How interesting to see the process.
Your October weather sounds the total opposite of ours. We haven't had a drop of rain in nearly a month.

Mrs Tiggywinkle said...

They are beautiful! So subtle. I can't remember when it last rained here, October was mild and sunny and we haven't turned the heating on yet. I hope November is a drier month for you, the endless rain can be miserable. x

Denise said...

Well Lorrie, I'm so frustrated, as I just typed a nice comment on your post, and got an error message when I tried to publish it. Sigh. I love the pretty shades of blue you ended up with in your indigo experiment! What a neat idea!

Things are soggy in your area, and we REALLY need some rain here. It's actually looking dusty here with all the dry, fallen leaves around. Hope you have a lovely weekend!

Hugs,

Denise at Forest Manor

Mereknits said...

The napkins are wonderful, what a fun project. Hope things dry up a bit for you.

Chel at Sweetbriar Dreams said...

A unique design on each and every one! Things are bright here but a lot colder. Have a wonderful Sunday xx

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

Quite the process you undertook for tie dying. Our church women's group did a scarf project years ago that was fun and I think we only used a Ritz die packet. I recently gave my scarf to a granddaughter who though it was rather unique.
We've had some pleasant days for walks recently too and are looking at low 50s for the coming week.

September Violets said...

These turned out so beautifully! You must have done an amazing job with the tying to get so much white. I was expecting some very deep blues with just touches of white. Never done this sort of thing before, and you make it look so easy. The serviettes look great with that teapot.
Wendy

Beatrice Euphemie said...

These are so pretty! So beautiful hanging on the line and on your lovely table! I love them. xx Karen

Helen Philipps said...

Beautiful fabric effects....what a fun thing to do and how delicious the results are. They would be lovely to stitch on too :) The lemon curd sounds like such a treat as well. Happy weekend, Lorrie.
Helen xox

AnnieOBTextiles said...

They all turned out beautifully and it is such a fascinating process isn't it? I did a two day workshop indigo dyeing a couple of years ago and loved it. I hope the weather becomes dryer for you.

Christina said...

I really liked learning about indigo dyeing. My only experience with dying is a tie dye kit I used with the kids a long time ago. Have a lovely week. x

Tracy said...

The fabric looks great and really interesting hearing how it the process takes place. Looks like some good messy fun doing the dying too.

aspiritofsimplicity said...

I love the linen. the dark indigo is so pretty. What a great idea to make napkins...they are lovely and so cheery with the blue teapot.

Lowcarb team member said...

They look good to me - I like the colour.
I also like the colour of the lemons in your photo's! Yellow is such a cheerful colour!

All the best Jan

Kit said...

What a great project! I love how they all came out. Been a rainy Oct here in Montana but we have sunshine this week. : Kit

Margie said...

Very cool, Lorrie!

I've also been guilty of snapping photos without checking the camera settings.

ann said...

I am wondering if I missed where you got the dye to begin with? The results are really beautiful. It would be interesting to experiment with different fabrics to se what sort of results you get. I do like the dark linen, too. And fresh lemons. What a treat. You are welcome to send some wet to us, for we are very dry here. Have a great week.

Marilyn Miller said...

I absolutely love indigo dyed things. Your napkins are just lovely. Many years ago I took a natural dye class and we did indigo. It is so fun to see it change once you remove it from the dye bath.

Jill said...

That looks like so much fun. I've eyed indigo dying but am intimidated by the time and the care with not getting dye everywhere since I tend to be a bit careless.

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

They turned out beautifully and it sounds like such a fun project !

Bee Lady said...

Oh my goodness I love the way it all turned out! It's beautiful. Thank you for sharing how to do this.

Cindy

Mascha said...

Well done! And the lemons are shining like little suns.
Send you a little daylight :-)