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These are the disappointing results of the Indigo vat I initiated in January. I wanted to use a container big enough to make it possible to dye larger items than the 2 gallon pots can accommodate, so I tried out the old Burco boiler I inherited some time ago.
indigo first dip
I wanted to know whether the results would change with the temperature as I couldn't maintain a steady 50 degrees. All I could do was to heat up the Burco until it reached just over 50 degrees and then switch it off again and let it cool. And it worked - but the colour was pale.
So I mixed up some morepaste of indigo and washing soda and added it to the vat... reheated and bingo!
indigo second dip
Gorgeous results - with a surprisingly wide range of colours. Sadly by the time I emptied out the exhausted vat, there were bits of rust and the bottom was leaking.
But aren't they designed to hold water for ages?
Anyone got an old Burco they don't want any more?
I still worry that using chemicals like Spectralite isn't within my definition of 'natural' - of course I understand that everything is made of chemicals, but is something created in a laboratory natural? Is synthetic indigo natural? And what of toxicity? Many natural substances are dangerously toxic and we should exercise great care when using them... but should we be permeating our fibres with them?
I don't know, but if I can achieve a good variety of colours without resorting to the use of metals (mostly), then I will.
But achieving a reliable and repeatable blue is a problem.



REALLY looking forward to Jenny Dean's dyeing workshop at the Fishbourne Roman Palace in a couple of weeks.
The event sold out quickly but I know there are a couple more planned for later in the year.
Jenny Dean
The above photo is from 2010 when Jenny ran a 2-day workshop with us in Plumpton College's potting shed at Stanmer. More info here...

150312    Indigo results