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Indigo & Shibori

Sunday was a beautiful spring day, so I took the opportunity of the warmth and made up another indigo dyevat, having learned how a few weeks ago. Last time I was focusing more on learning the process, and I didn’t actually dye a lot. This time I wanted to cement my learning, overdye some yarns I dyed the first time, and experiment with some basic shibori. Gordon’s pair of old faded jeans also went into the vat – although I warned him i couldn’t guarantee a satisfactory outcome!

Indigo Dye Solution

Indigo Dye Solution - just mixed

Indigo dye solution after reducing for an hour

Yarns soaking before dyeing


On top are the white cotton fabric pieces for experimental shibori. Clockwise from there – blue lace merino I previously dyed; gold reeled silk; green is the gold reeled silk I dyed last time; and the blue is a 15/3 silk dipped once last time.

Jeans oxidising after indigo bath


The colour transformations in indigo dyeing are wonderful as the cloth is exposed to air and oxidises the dye – but it’s a but tricky to photograph them, as they change quickly, and getting rubber gloves off, getting a camera and snapping a photo takes time! I turned the jeans over on the drying rack, and the green stripes are where the cloth was pressed against the rack wires, and therefore hadn’t oxidised – yet. It’s a beautiful shade of green – for a minute or two, before it changes!

Indigo dyeing results


I could have dyed more with the two vats I had going, but this was enough for the time being – I wanted to see how things turned out, before committing more yarn or fabric to be eternally blue! We decided that the jeans might need to be washed and dried before being dipped again (and perhaps again… and again…). I also wanted to see how the shibori worked…

…and for quick shibori experiments, they worked well!

Stitched shibori leaf (single row stitching)

Stitched shibori dolphin (double row stitching)

The yarn is still drying, but all in all, I’m quite happy with the results. And I can definitely see more shibori in my future!

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