Monday, August 3, 2015

Getting Closer to Fresh Indigo Leaf Dyeing

  I ended up with three nice indigo plants, lost about 6 plants from all that colder than normal and wet weather from May through first half of July. I am happy though that I should have enough to play and learn how to do this.

  This morning I am a little stumped if they are ready to harvest or not. A bruised leaf does not turn blue as allot of reading suggests, but my plants are tall enough according to some other reading.  We have had about 3 weeks of very hot and humid weather which another article suggests that the plants need to go through a very hot period.
     If any of you have grown and dyed with fresh indigo leaves I would love it if you would share with me on when to first harvest. thank you

  I have been doing more reading too, A Dyer's Garden by Rita Buchanan published back in the '90s is referred to often, and I do have her book. This morning I ran into another very informative article with clear photos on how the dye bath will look through out the process find the pdf here  I have bookmarked this one to find again one of the better reads I have found so far on the process. I also picked up from this one that to always use cold water when covering the leaves in the beginning and slowly bring up to the temperature. Many I have read are saying to cover with hot water and then bring up to temperature. It's these little things that make natural dyeing a better success.
   I also learned that I didn't realize before is that I do not need to pre mordant the fibers first, that will save me an extra step. I have roving that I purchased last year for dyeing, that I am going to use first in my indigo dye pot. I also purchased a couple silk scarves from Dharma that I may use also after the wool for a lighter blue. 

    I am doing a little spinning every day now, to get better and to keep on learning how to make better yarn with my spindles. I need to card up some more churro wool for my navajo spindle, and I am liking my non traditional russian spindle better too.
     After getting used to the traditional navajo I was not liking the hook on the russian and it just was not spinning properly in the bowl either. I remembered last nite my instructor suggested to try the spindles left or right handed cause it may just work out better using a different hand. So I tried that last nite emptying the spindle from the previous yarn and starting over; and yes it made a huge difference.
    I also had watched a really informative video on learning on the traditional supported spindles and one of her suggestions was to wind on the spun yarn matching the form of the spindle. If you don't do that than as the spindle fills up with the yarn it will no longer be balanced and spin properly-wow that made a huge difference too. I never would have thought of that tip
    Here is my latest with my russian non traditional spindle and I wound on as suggested. This is alpaca fiber in a roving that I purchased at the fiber event last month.

Happy Monday and enjoy your week!  


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