indigo

i harvested and dyed with my indigo plants in mid-august.  i harvested once most of them got their sweet little pink flowers…

flowers

flower_detail

post_harvest

i was sad to see them so stumpy, but they’re already growing back. i’m not sure i’ll have enough to dye again this year, but we’ll see.

basket

leaves

i needed a pound of leaves to dye 5 oz. of yarn. i think it weighed just under.

jar

i followed the instructions for a one-day recipe from rebecca burgess’s book harvesting color. i love this book. i must look at it, all the way through, at least once a week. most of the plants she gives recipes for grow in the west, but there are a bunch in the northeast, as well as a master dye bath recipe that can be applied to plants that she doesn’t cover.

indigo_yarn

mister loved watching the dye oxidize and turn from green to blue.  this wasn’t my first time dyeing with indigo, but it’s been a while and it’s still magical! i’m totally addicted and may order powdered indigo to play with over the winter. i especially love that it doesn’t require a mordant so there’s no washing metals down the drain, or storing the mordant bath to use again later.

i did make some rookie mistakes… i only had enough leaves to dye one skein of yarn, but i put two at a time into the dye vessel anyway.  also, i didn’t have enough liquid in the pot so i couldn’t really stir the yarn, which is why they came out streaky. after i took out the first two skeins, the liquid was still blue so i put the last two skeins in as well. they all came out of the bath really blue, but after rinsing them, it washed out completely from the last two, and left them a beautiful ecru color.

the yarn is plymouth’s dk merino superwash, which i used for the bee’s pixie hat last winter. it’s incredibly soft. i think i’m going to knit a sweater for the bee, starting with the ecrus on top, progressing to the darkest blue on the bottom, for a dip-dyed effect.  next time, i should just knit a sweater and dip-dye it!

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