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.