Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Learning a New Trick - Indigo Dyeing!!

Well, nothing like showing the results first!  These are my first attempts at indigo dyeing and I was pretty unstructured in what I did as I had no idea of the process and how it would work so they are definitely experimental in nature!! 

The cool part about the indigo dyeing is that they come out of the dye bath looking a lightish yellow-y green and then slowly change to dark blue.  It doesn't seem to matter how long you leave them in the dye bath as long as it is a little bit of time -- leaving in  longer does not seem to make them darker.  You have to wait for awhile and then redip them to get them darker -- at least that was my limited experience.  On most of these, I just twisted them around pvc pipe or just scrunched together with rubber bands.  The process is to get them really wet, wring out and them scrunch tightly to slowly put in the bath.  If you don't go slowly, you introduce air bubbles which will eventually kill your bath.  The oxidation is what turns the fabric from green to blue.  Also learned the hard way that dryish fabric means many more air bubbles!

Here you can see the pieces in their various stages of drying.

This was a t-shirt that Donna did and I really liked this one.  I did three t-shirts also but none as nice as this one.

Another view of the pieces drying on my rack.

I really want to thank Donna (from our RAFA group) for inviting me to join her and her friends in this dyeing day.  Besides being a gorgeous day, she lives within viewing distance of Lake Canandaigua which was a beautiful backdrop for our adventures!!  What a fun day. 

From a dyeing standpoint,  I would definitely do things a bit differently the next time -- more double dipping.  I did that with one of the tshirts as I didn't like what I got the first time through.  Also did it with the piece in this picture which shows so much white.  Another secret is to message the clamped pieces a lot -- that is the secret obviously to Elin Noble's gorgeous pieces that she does using clamped resists.  It really gets the dye in all the little places where you want it while keeping it away from the clamps.  I could see a real difference in the pieces where I messaged a lot and those that I didn't.

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