October 26, 2014
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Long time no see! But here I am and here is how my micro-plantation of Japanese indigo looked like a month ago (20-25 plants or so in total, seeds are from Wildcolors in UK)
For growing the plants and then dyeing (sodium hydrosulfite method) I followed this instructions from the Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers (free download article) and peeped in Wild Colour by Jenny Dean.
thick blue film appeared on the surface of the bath after simmering the leaves for a couple of hours at 50-60 degr.C
(the “foaming” stage after adding sodium carbonate didn’t really work for me, there was no blue foam). But the dyeing worked anyway:
a week later I tried the same process with woad, with same amount of leaves and this time there was the blue foam.
Woad dyebath gave paler and cooler blue compared to japanese indigo.
Here is some woollen yarn (and little pieces of rya wool) dyed with j.indigo on the left and woad on the right, same number of dips:
Next year I want to try indigo with yeast bath or urine bath and fermenting the plant material (mainly just to try and see if it works)
Being in indigo mood I have finished the shawl from my handspun yarn (which I dyed with synthetic indigo last year).
the pattern is Coeur de Lion from Ravelry. I first saw here in February Twelve blog.