Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Japanese Indigo Dyeing

This past weekend I managed to get some time between canning and freezing to pick a gallon size jar of Japanese Indigo leaves, which were ready for dyeing. I prepared the dye bath as Rita Buchanan does in her book "Weavers Garden" and proceeded to dye 5 skeins of bamboo fingering yarn. I first scoured the yarn in washing soda and detergent in boiling water for and hour to make sure it was clean. I rinsed the yarn and kept it wet until time to dye.
This is the prepared dye bath after reduction. The liquid should be a yellow-tan color. I added the skeins and let them soak for 10 minutes. I didn't want a real dark color but there was not enough color in the dye to produce a dark color. The skeins came out with a tye-dye effect. I think the skeins didn't open up enough in the dye bath to get inside the middle of the yarn. This is OK by me but next time I will remember to leave in longer and make sure the skeins open up. When I pulled the yarn out of the dye bath it began to turn blue. I took the skeins outside and shook them in the air and hung them on the line for awhile.
After air drying I brought the skeins in and washed them and hung them to dry. They have a faded denim look which I really like. I dyed all 5 skeins which are 2 ozs, each, a total of 10 ozs. I think I got a lot of dye stuff from 1 gallon of leaves. I'm going to weave a shawl with this yarn. This is my first cellulose project(cotton, flax, bamboo) and I'm happy with the results.

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