We learned that if the Indigo Pot gets over 135 F, the indigo starts to solidify and the pot gets a foam on top. Once it cools down to 135 F the pot dyes ok, no harm done. So don’t heat the dye pot over 135 F.
Sandy, Christine, Sharolene, Marcia, and Frank dyed their warps. At this point it sounds like everyone has completed dying their Ikat warps. So, there is no need to do Indigo dyeing for a while.
Anne, Sharolene, and Marcia dug madder. There was not enough to use for dye, but Christine and Julie took what was found to plant in their gardens. We had a discussion about processing madder root so it can be used for dyeing. Frank showed us tools that you can use to clean the madder and process it, including a scrub pad, tenderizing tool, and potato peeler.
We then talked about the Pin Loom Friendship project. Marcia showed her collection of samples made on pin looms and books on pin loom weaving. Marcia also lent pin looms out to Christine, Julie and Frank. Sandy decided she would buy her own Zoom loom to use. Marcia gave an impromptu demonstration of how to weave on a pin loom. Sharolene showed us a scarf she made out of pin loom squares. She spun all the yarn for the scarf and added a lace knit edging around the scarf.
Frank also showed Julie how to make booklets from our handmade paper and showed his handmade fabric booklet cover.
Other show and tell – Marcia and Sharolene showed us their ikat scarves.
And Sharolene showed us her turned taquete towel.
For the pin loom project, we decided:
We will be using 4 inch pin looms.
Worsted weight yarn or thinner. Sharolene’s scarf was more of a fingering weight.
6 inch needles to weave with.
We will be weaving plane tabby squares. We will NOT be weaving bias squares.
We then discussed what we wanted to do about our donation for the CHNC auction. We decided to donate a spinning project.
Anne will donate colored wool she drum carded. She will store the wool until the February meeting.
Frank will donate a drop spindle and some commercial roving.
Marcia will donate knitting needles and a knitting pattern.
Sandy will donate a weaving pattern.
Marcia will buy tissue paper and ribbon for the Guild to package everything with.
We met at Anne Dunham’s for Indigo a dye day last Sunday.
It was windy and rainy, so Anne let us set up the dye pot in her studio. The pot dyed great. Sharolene had 3 or 4 warps, Sandy had 2 or 3 warps, and Anne had 5 or 6 skeins of gray wool to dye. So, we set the pot up and then eat lunch. When lunch was done, we started dyeing. We finished dyeing by 3. Anne rinsed her wool and after 3 or 4 rinses the water was clear.
We couldn’t swing the warps or hang them on the fence because of the rain and wind. It didn’t matter though because we took the yarn from the dye pot to a wet pot. The wet pot was where we wrung the excess dye water out. We then put the steaming damp yarn into a dry pot. By the time the yarn made it to the dry pot, it had gotten enough oxygen.
The other thing we learned was it is easier to transport the dye bucket inside the large blue tubs with 2 people, not one person carrying the dye bucket alone.
From Frank: Sandy and I went to Anne Dunham’s for Indigo dying. We adjusted the ph and added the dye remover. Then we added the bucket heater. We then went in and soaked our warps in hot water. We then eat. When the dye remover was in the pot for 1 hour and the pot was up to 130 F, we removed the heater and started dying. We dipped for 4 minutes mostly. Sandy had 5 small warps and I had 4 small warps. Sandy only dipped twice at most. I dipped some of mine up to 4 times. We got dark blue after 2 4-minute dips.
Today we surveyed the results of our recent project and divided our skeins among our members. In recent months we have experimented with indigo, weld, osage orange, cochineal, and walnuts. Here is what we have.
Weld mordanted with soda ash to adjust the pH and boiled (top, left)
Osage orange – we found that pH matters (bottom, left)
Osage orange overdyed with indigo (top, second from left)
Weld overdyed with indigo (top, third from left)
Indigo overdyed with walnuts (top, fourth from left)
Indigo dipped three or four times for two minutes (top, fifth from left)
Indigo dipped once for two minutes (right end)
Light indigo overdyed in cochineal afterbath (bottom, right)
Cochineal mordanted with cream of tartar to adjust the Ph dipped for ten minutes (bottom, second from right)
Cochineal mordanted with cream of tartar to adjust the Ph dipped for one hour (on reel)
Cochineal overdyed with black walnuts (lower row, center)
Indigo overdyed with cochineal (bottom, second from left)
We started our natural dye project in earnest. This will give us colored wool to use in the tapestry project we have started. This month we activated our indigo pot. We have one that we store in a covered pot so as not to waste any of our indigo, We bring the pot out several times a year. Normally we do this outside in the summer. This helps bring the temperature of the pot to an appropriate level by using some sunlight and allows us to do the entire process outdoors. We are dyeing carefully weighed wool skeins that we will continue to use in upcoming months to over-dye with other colors to get a number of colors to use in our tapestries. Some have already been dyed another color and we will overdye them with indigo blue.
The indigo bath must achieve the right pH and the right temperature in order to successfully produce color. We heat it if we need to and add commercial dye remover until we achieve the appropriate pH. We must be careful not to introduce oxygen into the pot which, amazingly, looks like its green, not blue.
When the yarn is removed from the pot, it looks green. But as it gets oxygen from the air it starts turning blue . It’s magic!
But the yarn that had already been dyed yellow turns green!
On this warm day we met to once again experiment with our indigo pot. There were seven of us: Phyllis, Sandy, Sharolene, Ann, Anne, Natalie, and Laura.
Ann’s shawl on the left was originally bright pink until it was dipped into the indigo pot. And her shirt on the right was bound into pleats with rubber bands at the neck and the hem for a decorative resist when in went into the pot.
Natalie, one of our new members, is also learning to spin on a wheel that has a history and is in need of some tweaking. Several of us helped her determine that there was a bit of a wobble when the wheel went round but we think she can make an easy fix.
She was also able to experiment with a simple resist pattern dipped into the indigo pot.
Laura was our guest who has been fascinated to learn more about indigo. She changed some items in her wardrobe from white to rich indigo blue.
We experimented with immersing items in the dyepot for a longer period of time versus repeated dips to see if there was a color difference. There did not appear to be but we will see if the color fades less in the one we left in the pot longer.
We also discussed ways to connect with others like Natalie and Laura who might like to share in our adventures with spinning, dyeing, and weaving. A very nice day!
We had our usual indigo dye pot and a cochineal dye pot as well. (Cochineal comes from a small beetle that lives on cactus pads!) We are also making kumihimo lanyards for the Conference of California Handweavers (CNCH) meeting in 2018. Here are some photos of some of our efforts. Of course, Phyllis’s dog Flicka had to take a look too.
We had a lovely meeting with just a few choice members showing up: Sharolene, Frank, Lotus, Marcia and Phyllis. We continued with our indigo-dyed shibori project. There are some interesting comparisons of wet versus dry indigo in these pics. They are duplicated to show how much darker the wet indigo is.
This is Lotus Baker’s handspun handmade beautiful vest that she made for the CNCH fashion show a couple of weeks ago. You can’t tell by the look of it but it has a wonderful feel and drape. She made it using plain weave on her rigid heddle loom. These photos don’t do it justice.
The rain held of long enough for us to use the patio for the indigo dye pot. Sandy, Phyllis, Carol, Lotus, Elaine, Marcia and Anne used the pot and shared other projects. The indigo pot has been in use for around twenty years! and just needs a little refreshing and warmth to get it back up to speed each month. Here are some of the items we dyed.
There were other activities too. Lotus brought some yardage she has woven in plain weave on a rigid heddle loom from yarn leftover on weaving bobbins. While she was here, she worked on socks she is knitting from the toe up with both socks being knit at the same time on circular needles. Sandy used her sewing skills to mend a beautiful quilted Mung jacket that belongs to Phyllis.
There were probably other things going on too, but this is a sampling.