Indigo Interlude

After a week on which I sewed every day, and spend a lovely Saturday afternoon at a friend’s Sewing Day & Pizza Night, I decided that on the Sunday I’d take a break from sewing and relax.

Well, I did take a break from sewing, but I didn’t manage to relax. When I considered what I could do instead of sewing I remembered something I’d been meaning to do for nearly a year now. Last year I made an attempt at starting an indigo vat with ripe bananas and failed dismally, so I ordered fructose and hydrated lime in order to try that recipe. It was time to give it a go.

This time the vat seems to have worked. It’s not particularly strong – I chose the ‘medium blue’ recipe because I only had 32 grams of indigo powder left but only got a light blue. My aim was to only shift colour with over-dying and the vat was dark enough to achieve that.

I started with some over dye test strips I made during the Maiwa class, in module 7. They got two dips. The result was interesting in that the indigo moved the red dyes toward purple but the yellow dyes didn’t change to green. I still went ahead and dyed the bigger piece later, but doing only one dip. I’m glad I did because the result is lovely! The background is a light blue and the leaves now range from yellowy green to olive.

The next was Dusk, a big jumper I’d machine knit by adapting the Weekender pattern. The yarn had been through two dyeing sessions previously: first a failed eucalyptus dye, then over-dyeing with some leftover old wool dyes. It was mauve with orange bits.

I’d made a hat in the same yarn on the Addi circular knitting machine, too, and there were three more skeins of yarn. They all had two dips in the indigo, and are now a coolish grey. I also popped a skein of sock yarn in. It was an unappealing mix of browns, and turned a much nicer blue-brown.

(I have to add: the above post-dye photos aren’t the best. The light here has been terrible for project photography lately, which is usually only a problem in winter.)

The indigo dyeing took up most of the day and most of my energy. So much for a restful Sunday! But I managed a successful indigo vat, improved some pieces of clothing, yarn and fabric, and had a nice break from sewing.