A little fun with Indigo

On Monday I decided to do some dyeing with an indigo dyeing kit which I had bought several months ago.   Actually, I started thinking about it the previous Saturday and spent the best part of the morning tying little marbly things (they are actually playing counters for a game) into a piece of white cotton fabric.  The result was oddly satisfying, and I could see why people manipulated fabric or made the 3D sort of shibori – such as Michelle Griffiths who has her studio just west of where I live, in Llantrisant.

Here is the piece of fabric when I had finished tying it.  It was about a yard in length before I started.

white cotton fabric with counters tied into it all over

I was so pleased with that one that I decided to use up the rest of the counters in a sort of flowing line on a long white silk scarf:

silk scarf tied in same way

So on Monday I was all prepared.  I made up the indigo vat and decided to dip each piece several times for strength of colour.

Here is the first piece hanging on the line after dipping:

indigo dyed fabric

And some other pieces which I did:

more indigo dyed fabric

The yarn is some white recycled sari silk.  That took the dye the best out of all of them.

Here is some fabric in the dyepot on the grass.  The good thing about this was that once I had prepared the vat I could do all the actual dipping in the garden and keep all the mess out there!

indigo vat on grass

The second (or it may even be third by this time) dipping of my tied fabric.  The yarn is the pencil roving which I used for my felted bag.  It was put in when the indigo was nearly exhausted so is much paler.

indigo dyed fabric and yarn

I also put in a bit of my rusted fabric.  It is a lovely pale blue colour which complements the rust very well.  It was interesting to see that the rust seemed to act as a resist – or maybe it was just that the dye was so pale it didn’t affect it in any way.

rusted fabric with indigo dye

I started untying the counters before I rinsed the fabric… here it is half untied – I quite like the effect!

tie dyed fabric half untied

Here it is fully untied but as yet unrinsed and wet:

untied fabric

I did untie some of the counters before dipping the second and third times – as you can see, there is a variation in shade of the circles.

And here it is, washed, dried and ironed and pinned up on my design wall.  As you can see, it is considerably paler.

tie dyed fabric dry and ironed

And here is the silk scarf:

silk scarf with tie dyed circles

And a detail of the bottom part:

detail of previous fabric

I’m not sure what I shall use these for yet – I will probably do more printing or dyeing over the top but I think I would like to leave the large piece whole.  Maybe even some rust dyeing?  I have some more pieces of fabric in the process of being rusted – now the roof has finally been fixed (we hope!) I am using up the rust from the baking tin which was collecting water underneath the window in the loft.  When that’s done I will slather it in oil to stop it rusting any more (I hope!).

Here they are in the process of rusting:

rusting fabric

7 Replies to “A little fun with Indigo”

  1. nice work Liz, I am pleased you have your roof fixed I remember a blog post of sheets of polyathene covering everything, the large blue piece looks very Yoruba,

  2. You make me want to get back into dyeing! I have all the necessary ingredients, just haven’t done any for awhile. I love the rusty fabric and the indigo dyed silk scarf.

  3. You must have so much patience to tie up all those counters. In fact I loved the nobbly look of it before you untied them. But the finished result was superb too.

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