gather and grow

Homegrown, hand-spun living in the city

The uninitiated would never guess, but the made-from-scratch life is full of moments of anticipation, suspense, and thrill. Moments of waiting and uncertainty until the lid is dramatically lifted, or the oven door opened, or a test run: Will the jam set? Will the bread rise? Will the cold process soap show a “trace”? Or, as in my case in the last week: Is the indigo dye going to work?

It did. Oh, the thrill of a successful project! novemberbluesThe last few days have been punctuated by afternoon sessions of gentle stirring, checking of temperatures, slow and patient immersion of fibers — and then pulling an entire spectrum of shades of blue out of the indigo vat, one by one. (Actually, the fibers are green when first lifted out of the dyebath, and only turn blue when exposed to air. So neat to watch.)indigoAs a result of these Indigo Sessions, I now have a range of blues in both wool yarn and pieces of silk: baby blues, denim and royal blues, and dark indigo peace blues that took several immersions to obtain. I can’t stop admiring them and marveling at the fact that Nature produced those colors (with a little help from me!).indigob2indigo-5The greatest thing about the indigo vat is that it can be kept going indefinitely. Eventually, all the indigo in it will be exhausted, at which point the vat can be put aside to rest. But if you adds all the ingredients again in the right proportion, the vat wakes up again and is ready to dye more. Cheryl Kolander of Aurora Silk has had the same vat going for 18 years! We’ll see how long mine lasts… but at least it’s off to a good start. And I am addicted.

4 thoughts on “November blues

  1. threeprettyposies says:

    I love the gradation you did with the yarn. I spent a January with an indigo dye vat around a decade ago and it was such a fun experience!

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