Shades of Blue


| 10/3/2016 1:45:00 PM


Blue

Shades of blue are obtained from an indigo-dye pot by successively dipping, exposing to air, and re-dipping wool. The lightest of these skeins was barely in the dye pot – less than 30 seconds. You can also plan to do your darker blues first, when the dye pot is the fresh. Photo by Elizabeth Janoski

Elizabeth Janoski

There is an element of magic present in the use of indigo dye. As author Catherine E. McKinley explains in her book Indigo: In Search of the Color that Seduced the World, this ancient, brilliantly blue dye-stuff connects weavers, artists, scientists and religious leaders across continents, cultures, and centuries. Produced by what McKinley describes as a “tiny leaves of small parasitic shrubs,” indigo continues to intrigue fiber artists and is readily available in an easy to use form from a number of mail-order suppliers.



While purists may be drawn to the lengthy and laborious process of raising their own indigo and processing their own dyestuff, the rest of us will be well be satisfied with purchasing a pre-reduced indigo powder which allows even the most inexperienced dyer to set up a dye pot immediately as a one-time dye bath needs nothing but water and indigo powder. There are also easy recipes for sustaining a dye-pot over several days, or longer.



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