Tag Archives: indigo

dyeing with japanese indigo (and woad)

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)

Japanese indigo

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.

Japanese indgo

thick blue film appeared on the surface of the bath after simmering the leaves for a couple of hours at 50-60 degr.C

indigo

chemistry

(the “foaming” stage after adding sodium carbonate didn’t really work for me, there was no blue foam). But the dyeing worked anyway:

yarn dyed with j. indigo from the garden

a week later I tried the same process with woad, with same amount of leaves and this time there was the blue foam.

Woad

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:

yarn dyed with indigo and woad

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).

shawl Coeur de Lion

the pattern is Coeur de Lion from Ravelry. I first saw here in February Twelve blog.

shawl Coeur de Lion

Russian indigo

I’ve been thinking – I will share here,  now and then,  some textile links I stumble upon in Russian-speaking  internet comminity. (Just because I can :)

Here is indigo resist work of Elena Dikova from Kargopol

More on her VK page

noncanonical Kannon

finished “maid with birds”

old cyrillic incarnation of  Kanzeon – Guan Ying

primordial stitch

The more I looked at the traditional north-Russian embroideries from the region of Karelia the more I wanted to try one of these motifs.  I decided  to weave a linen cloth for it (mainly because i couldn’t find the cloth with the right feeling – rough and soft at the same time), from the old handspun linen yarn (which I bought from a Swedish weaver, her blog is one of my favourites). Both the warp and the weft are single linen threads.

weaving this little cloth wasn’t easy, even if I painted the warp with a jelly from cooked flax seeds  to strengthen it , the last 30 cm of weaving was pain. Luckily the warp was quite short (I was surprised it lasted for more than 1m).

Traditional Karelian embroideries are done with red color on white cloth, I wanted to make mine with white thread on indigo background, don’t ask me why.

Since it was my first attempt with indigo vat , I didn’t dare to dye the whole piece, so I cut out one-third of it. And it worked quite well and fast! (I used hydrosulfit method).

the stitching technique is one of the oldest and very similar to traditional european blackwork, and on the wrong side is supposed to look exactly the same as on the right side (and no knots!)  Well, luckily  I don’t have to show the back side of my embroidery piece to anybody :-)

(for somebody really curious – this little video shows  how they do it Karelia ,the woman on video is talking about how it is important that embroidery looks exactly the same on both sides – both because while doing it you exercise your brain and because “you have nothing to hide” from the world around you – there is no back side of life)

gardening and some folk motifs

As usual at this time of the year I am all busy digging, sowing and re-planting (all the veg and flower plus the hedge)  not so much time for textile work.
But  some of my gardening  is actually fiber-related, like flax (six different sorts from the genebank)

and japanese indigo. Bought seeds from Wildcolors in UK, (£3.50 for 10 seeds),
nobody seems to grow  japanese indigo in Sweden…

well,  some peripheral knitting has been going on too – another random sock

nearly finished a cardigan for my man

and last Sunday when it stared to rain (finally, no need to water the garden !)  we went to Kulturen open-air museum to look (again) at some allmoge woodworking and textiles.

more pictures from Kulturen in my flickr

my not very steady (yet) relationship with indigo

few years ago, after discovering this and this sites, I got so inspired – I ran and bought myself a bottle of pure pigment (not a cheap stuff). But the  process seemed rather complicated , it required some additional chemicals etc,  I’ve got distracted by other things in life and finally totally forgot about it.

Recently this indigo thing has started peeping out again, I can feel it, it wants to be tried out. And since currently I am in …let’s call it “making things from scratch” mode,  I had to buy some indigo and woad seeds and try to grow my own dye stuff.

so here they are, growing in our greenhouse now, both woad and indigo

A month ago in our local library I unexpectedly found a book by Gösta Sandberg (history, inspirational images and all recipes for different indigo dying processes)

  

So I think, once days are warmer and while my natural blue dye is growing in the garden I might try the synthetic indigo  from my little bottle (on my homespun yarn? for ikat weaving? make some simple printing blocks and resist-dye?). We’ll see.

And just to round-up the whole thing – here are some pictures of beautiful  blue cloth from swedish museums 1, 2, 3, 4 (the last three are from Gösta Sanberg’s collection), by the way I am becoming a fan of digital museum databases.

P.S.   Japanese Textile workshop blog and Idigodye blog  – lots of indigo stuff.

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