Monday, October 10, 2011

weekly bundles no. 6

The dye pot that was not. My first attempt of fresh indigo dyeing was a total failure. Not of trace of blue, or any other color for that matter. I carefully followed the three day vat recipe from Rebecca Burgess's book harvesting color, with the exception that she used polygonum tinctorium and I used indigofera tinctoria. I had a hunch that something was awry since the color of the dye liquid did not look like hers throughout the process. Maybe the two different species of indigo will react/ferment in different ways? Naturally, I dove right into this without doing my homework. Now I am really intrigued and want to learn more. I have plenty of indigo (indigofera tinctoria) that need to be harvested soon and I would love to give this another try. Words of wisdom from you indigo experts out there would be most welcome.

To offset my disappointment with the indigo trial, I boiled up some beet root just for a test. I expected pink, and got a musky (but beautiful) brown. I am thinking there is some secret ingredient in the erthue scour I used to prep the linen with. Well my friends, more color to come next time, we hope.


  1. Check out Eva's post and links:
    Don't know if it would work, but it is worth a try.

  2. I think I had a bit of beginner's luck with mine, the last try was a flop. what kind of vat was it?

  3. I've never been able to grow much Indigo here in the frozen north - Maine. But, there are good instructions in Rita Buchanan's book: A Dyer's Garden - From Plant to Pot: Growing Dyes for Natural Fibers. (Interweave Press, 1995, ISBN: 1-883010-07-1)

  4. I've just been dyeing with Polygonum tinctorium (seeds from Eva from Tinctory) using this recipe:
    I achieved some lovely turquoise. But considering Indigofera tinctoria, as far as I know, it has to undergo a fermentation process in order to release its dye, which is somewhat more complicated. I havent heard about it being done with fresh leaves, though, but would like to know if that's possible.


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