Monday, October 10, 2011

Blue to Dye For

Kathi stirring the indigo pot to mix the ingredients
 The natural dyeing workshop is an annual meeting in May with the Las Vegas Fiber Arts Guild. Originally they held it up on Mt. Charleston, just outside the city where it was nice and cool. But it was a pain carting everything up there and then setting up and then bringing it all back down the mountain. So for the last several years Nancy has hosted the extravaganza in her front yard. Her set up is unbelieveable and gets better every year. It’s getting to be a burden for her as she nears 80 and requires help from others in the guild to keep it operating, but what a tradition it’s been.

A row of about 10 propane stoves with 2 pots each for dyeing. Two outdoor craft sinks for rinsing and a drying rack. Crock pots have been added for Kool Aid dyeing and this past year they added a tent with indigo dyeing. Plus Nancy serves tacos for lunch, and has tents set up while we wait for the pots to do their thing. People sit around and spin, knit and talk up a storm.

Bev and I were so taken with the indigo dyeing that she is going to try it in her dyeing efforts in Cedar City on Saturday, October 15. Some of the complexity of the indigo dyeing has been taken out with kits. We were able to pick some up on clearance at JoAnne’s and also found some at Dharma’s on the Internet.

Skimming the waste materials off the surface

The yarn has to stay submerged in the solution, not agitated.

Then when it is brought to the surface it is green.

A person quickly lets it drip out as you don’t want oxygen to get into the solution. As oxygen gets to the yarn it oxides the solution on the yarn turning it blue. It’s amazing to watch.

First dip = light blue

If you let the yarn dry a bit then you can redip it to get a darker shade of blue. The blue is the color that was originally used in blue jeans. If you don’t work with plastic gloves it does a great job of dyeing your hands blue too!

Second dip = darker blue

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