Amanda Marksdottir (ragnvaeig) wrote in naturaldyes,
Amanda Marksdottir

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Indigo Vat at EK Spring War Practice

I did an indigo dye demo as part of the "artisan's row" at East Kingdom Southern Region Spring War Practice yesterday--it's normally a hit with the kids (young and old) who get to watch the fibre turn from green to blue, and they get to learn a little chemistry while they watch.

Due to site restrictions on open fires, I did it on my trusty Coleman stove in my normal aluminium dye pot. I decided to go with a few skeins of different fibres, including different breeds of wool and a couple skeins that would be top-dyed with the indigo. I used Spectralite and washing soda (15 g synthetic indigo::9 g Spectralite::90 g sodium bicarbonate) as reducers in the stock solution, which I mixed up at home so I wouldn't have to bring my digital kitchen scale outside.

Indigo Vat Setup

(Click any photo to embiggen and to read the notes on each)

I kept the dye pot around 50ºC by eye (wisps of steam but no bubbles) and worked until the pot had re-oxidised itself. I hung my skeins to oxidize and dry on a little rack I improvised out of a long branch and two forked sticks.

Indigo Dyed Fibre

The finished fibre seems to have been a much greater success than with my last indigo vat. Am really quite pleased with the results. I didn't keep track of exactly how long things were in the pot, or how many dips I did of each--I was teaching something else intermittently at the same time--but for someone of the "surprise me" school of dyeing I rather like how these turned out.

Out of the Indigo Pot
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