Learning Indigo

My attempts to dye indigo in the past have been frustrating with none of my vats giving more than a very pale blue. I'm ready for another try.

This time I've set up miniature fermentation vats in jars to make it easier to manage them and watch the changes.

There is so much to learn and so much to get wrong. The promising coppery sheen on the vat above has gone since I took the photo a few days ago. The fermentation was too active, the pH dropped too much. I added what was needed but it's back to square one.

At least I've found a method to keep the temperature up: I fill a hot water bottle and put it with the jars in an improvised haybox (a cardboard box wrapped in old blankets). The heat lasts about half a day that way.


jude said...

are you in touch with glennis at shibori girl? she is very good at this.....

Anonymous said...

how long have you been fermenting the vat? it does take some time. i would imagine that your cold weather there might make keeping a consistently even temp difficult. why not try using an old electric blanket? might be worth a try. here's a link to the process if you haven't visited it already-

it's worth waiting for...

fionachapman said...

Wow, I'd never have thought it would be so complicated and so scientific. I'm so impressed. Cant wait to see the results.

Catherine V. Bainbridge said...

I'm going to be trying this soon too, but I guess I have an added advantage... HEAT! :) Good luck!


So happy I found your blog


Martine said...

After several misfits i decided to wait till summer. Although Glennisses tip for the electric blanket might make up for cool nights even in summer.

Eva said...

Thanks for the comments and suggestions!

I never understood the electric blanket method - should I leave it on all night? Isn't that a fire hazard?

Marchi Wierson said...

this challenge reminds me of what you do if you make your own yogurt. Try looking at techniques for that and you may get an idea you can use!

Faun Bonewits said...

maybe its like wode?
its when you take the fabric
out of the green water vat
and the dye interacts with air(oxidizes)
when the real things happen
and it turns pale blue .

Judy Martin said...

"so much to learn, so much to get wrong"

truer words were never spoken . There is so much to learn, and so much advice out there. It's hard to make sense of it all.

I have been using pre-reduced indigo in combination with thiorurea dioxide and have had good results in my heated studio, even in winter. It doesn't last long however - not for weeks, but I am able to revive my vatit when I want to dye again

Eva said...

Marchi - good idea, thanks!

Faun - yes, that's what I'm trying to do :)

Judy - thank you. Yes, I've read all the theory but it just won't work in practice... Glad your thiox vat behaves as it should.