Monday, 21 November 2011

Indigo


 My neighbour set up an indigo vat this weekend, and invited me to come and dip bits of fabric into it. It was fascinating to watch the fabric turn from yellow to green to blue as it oxidized.


We ran out of things to dye, and started on anything that wasn't nailed down or already blue. One of the exciting discoveries was that printed bits retained their colour - red stayed bright red. Of course nothing in my scrap box is safe now.


(As you can see in this pic, white cat fur appears to be completely impervious to indigo. What a surprise. )

7 comments:

Roule said...

Hehe : ) would have loved to see a blue cat! great colour!

lamina @ do a bit said...

ha ha ha hilarious.. I do exactly the same thing and want to dye absolutely everything when dying! I think an indigo cat would be really cool.. :D

Wendren said...

Wonderful! Dyeing is magical!

Indigo is my favourite colour but such a process to dye. I tried once and turned myself and our dog blue! How did you fix the dye? Everything I dyed turned whoever touched it blue too....

Jesse said...

Indigo can't be fixed, but the dyeing needs to be gradual. I found a good explanation here: http://www.pburch.net/drupal/?q=node/707

"You dip the fiber into the reduced indigo vat, allowing some of the yellow reduced indigo to penetrate inside the fibers, and then you pull it out of the dyebath, allowing the yellow indigo molecules to be oxidized by the air into the insoluble blue form. Then you repeat this procedure until the desired degree of color intensity is reached. The insoluble indigo dye molecules are thus fixed in place inside the fibers, where they will not rub off or wash out.

If you try to take a shortcut by using one dip, in an overly strong solution of reduced indigo, then too much of the indigo stays outside the fiber. When the indigo molecules that are outside the fiber are oxidized, they are left on the outside of the fiber. This means that there is nothing holding them on to the fiber. Oxidized blue indigo on the outside of the fiber will rub off, even when dry."

Sonya Philip said...

Indigo is magic, magic stuff. I love the image of you running around trying to find things to dye.

L'Atelier said...

how exciting! looking forward to see what you will be dipping next :)

theperfectnose said...

This is beautiful! That red goes so well with the blue too!