1. Prepare the fibre for dyeing with indigo
2. Prepare the indigo stock solution
If you are dyeing cotton, make sure you have scoured the cotton very well. If you are dyeing wool, it must be washed well before you dye. If you are dyeing hanks, make sure you have enough ties in the hank to prevent the yarn from getting in a tangle.
Soak your wool or cotton overnight or for at least two hours. This opens up the fibres, increasing dye penetration. It also removes as much oxygen as possible and helps to prevent the fibre floating to the top of indigo dye vat.
Just before you start to weigh the ingredients, warm up the fibre by putting it in a washing up bowl with warm water at about 45°C.
a) Place a jam jar marked ‘soda ash’ on the scales, zero the scales and weigh the soda ash in the jam jar. Pour 200 ml of boiling water in a Pyrex (heat proof) jug. Add soda ash to the water, stirring well to dissolve it. Add 100 ml cold water and wait for the soda ash and water solution to cool to 45°C.
b) Place another jam jar marked ‘indigo’ on the scales, then zero the scales and weigh the indigo. Add hot water (about 80°C), a little at a time, to the indigo to make a smooth paste, pressing with the back of a spoon against any undissolved indigo.
c) Gradually add the paste to the soda ash solution, stirring slowly and leave for 30 minutes. Stir gently 2 or 3 times during this period, again pressing with the back of a spoon against any undissolved indigo.
Note: This indigo stock solution can be prepared the night before.
2) Prepare the indigo vat (opens a new page)
3) Dye the fibre (opens a new page)
- Getting started with Indigo dyeing (opens a new page)
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