Mo asked for indigo vat instructions. Probably there are better ones online but here’s a brief explanation of my experience yesterday and OK. I’m forced to admit that when it comes to starting an indigo vat, it IS important to measure AND pay attention to water temp.
When I got home from the workshop, I pulled out my stash of dyeing supplies. Stuff I had used over a year ago with barely marginal success. Wondered if there was a shelf life for the goods but decided to concoct the 1-2-3 indigo vat just the same. This ratio stands for 1 part indigo, 2 parts calcium hydroxide (pickling lime) and 3 parts fructose/per liter of water.
The day before I had placed the indigo powder in a small pickle jar (empty) that still smelled like pickles. Added a few small stones I picked up when I was having lunch with a dear friend. Then added hot water (quantity and temp not measured) and shook the jar for a few minutes. The stones helped mix up the powder which has a tendency to lump up. This mixture sat overnight.
So yesterday I measured out the fructose and calcium hydroxide, dissolved the fructose in 180 degree water–dissolved the calcium hydroxide in cold water per instructions–poured the liquid indigo into the vat, added fructose and calcium hydroxide and within a matter of minutes a bloom started forming on top of the surface.
The bloom is a good thing.
Stirred energetically and then let the vat rest overnight. This morning I skimmed off the bloom and the coppery surface film and began experimenting. In the interim I have been thinking about the rope bowl/baskets. Wondering how they would look dyed in indigo without wrapping the rope in fabric.
The white fleck repeating pattern? That must be polyester in the cotton rope. A wonderful surprise.
They’re still wet and may need to be over dyed again, but i want to see the color when they’re dry before I make any decision. And because I have tons of scraps of fabric I’ve dyed in the past–wrapping cans, using avocado skins, rusty objects etc–I decided to over dye a few pieces to see what would happen. Some nice results–here’s the best one I think: