Indigo + weld = brilliant green

February 25, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Posted in Dyeing, Fiber Arts | Leave a comment

I spent part of yesterday dyeing my thread, in preparation for more fingerlooping. I am using 20/2 spun silk that I purchased through Phiala’s String Supplies stage. I purchased 200 yards. I kept half the thread white, I will dye one quarter blue, and the second quarter will be held in reserve to dye another color when the mood strikes me.

In the meantime, I have been prepping my fibers. I washed the silk briefly in detergent because my previous experience says that this will help the dyes to take better. Then I took a small section of thread, barely 0.1 gram, and mordanted it with alum. I next dyed it yellow with weld. I thought that I had taken pictures of this process, but they appear to have disappeared off the camera, so you don’t get to see it. I have loose weld, so I first made a little pouch of loosely woven cloth to put the weld in. In the past I have tried cheese cloth, but that is too loosely woven, and little bits of plant matter kept getting stuck in my fibers. The sheer curtain material worked much better.

Once I had a nice bright yellow, I started up the indigo dye bath. I used the instructions found in the book Wild Color, which has always given me good results in the past. I had to modify the recipe, of course, since I was using about 1 gram of thread, and not 250g! I “cheated” and used the chemical method, mixing the indigo with wash soda and adding color run remover to the dye bath to create the conditions needed. One of these days I’m going to make a urine -based indigo bath, but, sadly, today was not that day.

Dyeing with indigo never ceases to astonish me. It’s amazing the way the thread goes from green to blue! The bulk of the yarn was white thread I was trying to dye deep blue. But I also had that small bit of yellow silk which I very briefly dipped in the indigo, giving me a gorgeously bright spring green.

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