Thursday, 26 September 2013

1-2-3 Blue-2-3

For Christmas I received a great pressie, Michel Garcia's indigo dyeing workshop DVD. Since then I've watched it numerous times and I've been waiting to try his 1-2-3 indigo vat for ages but it took me a while to gather up the materials, the ingredients (and the time!) to give this a go.
The ingredients list isn't particularly extensive - indigo, calcium hydroxide and fructose. The equipment list isn't exactly challenging either - just the usual pots and pans, stirrers and so on. I did get hold of some glass marbles - recommended by Michel for helping the indigo to combine with the alkaline calcium hydroxide and the water, but other than that my only additional piece of kit was a slow cooker that my in-laws kindly gave me as they weren't using it.

So how did it go?

Well, it was pretty straightforward. The 1-2-3 refers to the relative proportions of indigo, calcium and fructose to use, so I duly measured out my ingredients.

I combined the indigo and calcium, shaking them up (with the lid on!) with some glass marbles.

Next came the vat, using the fructose to de-oxygenate the vat. A slightly nervous wait as the vat warmed and (fingers crossed) turned that familiar clear, greeny-yellow with the oil-on-water surface.

and there was the reassuring indigo flower (the blue-y foam on the water surface).

All set!

Folding and clamping some pfd (prepared for dyeing) cotton fabric...(yes, these are bag clips from the £1 shop!)...

Using an old kitchen sieve to immerse the clamped fabrics in the vat. The sieve stops the fabric from touching any sludgy bits of indigo that may be lurking in the bottom of the vat.

A quick last test of the vat (just blotting paper to check the colour).

And in they go...

Cover and keep at around 50c for about 10 mins

Remove from the vat....

And watch the colour develop...

Remove the clamps...

Rinse and dry....

Not bad for my first 1-2-3 vat!

(Note: I've since repeated this exercise after leaving the vat for a couple of days then refreshing it by warming it up. The colours were much deeper and more of a true indigo blue).

I see lots more 1-2-3'ing in my future!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Beautiful blanks - dyeing at Purl City Yarns

Some super dyeing with my lovely students at one of my favourite venues, Purl City Yarns. Blank canvas dyeing is always fun as students get really creative with their colours and patterns! I can't wait to see the socks knitted from these beauties....

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Funky felt!

More fun with the year 10s!

The groups got stuck into felting with some real gusto! The trickiest thing was keeping them supplied with wool!

Lots of lovely felted pictures, names and patterns and even some funky, brightly coloured hair falls (aka woolly dreadlocks)......

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