I’ve done a lot of dyeing over the years, all of it on wool or silk fibres, and always with acid dyes designed for protein fibres. I love the results, but I’ve never had a chance to play with natural dye, so when my neighbour Kathy said she had an indigo pot going I was thrilled! I settled on three things I wanted to dye, an off white cotton warp for weaving, over dye a fading pair of favourite jeans, and a cream pair of Devil May Wear tights.
I started with the jeans and the cotton warp to get a feel for how indigo works, and then moved on to the challenging one, dip dyeing the tights in a nice ombre indigo fade. I held them by the ankles and dipped them almost all the way, held them there for a minute, and then pulled them out to oxidize. The oxidization is one of the coolest things about indigo! You pull your fabric or yarn out from the dye pot and it’s this yellowish green, and right before your eyes it changes to the most beautiful blue you’ve ever seen!
With each subsequent dip I immersed less and less until I had what I wanted, tights that were dark indigo at the top, slowly fading to cream at the ankles. The colour is so beautiful, and unlike anything I’ve done with the acid dyes. I think I’m a natural dye convert, and I think madder root is next!