Last summer Ann shared Japanese indigo seeds with 12 Sunshine Coast Spinners and Weavers Guild members. We started seeds indoors in late March, early April. Some folks re-potted into larger pots and others put their plants outside in the ground. We received regular emails to keep the Indigo Girls on track. We fertilized, watered, deer proofed, tended and talked to our plants.
On August 28, in memory of our Guild member Laurie, we arrived at Ann’s studio in Garden Bay with varying amounts of our precious clippings.
We started by pulling leaves off the stems.
Ann weighed the leaves, recorded the amount and a station of clippers snipped the leaves into 1/4″ strips.
We took a lunch break while the leaves soaked. Then we kneaded, scrubbed, scrunched and stirred the leaves in the buckets.
After 15 min of scrunching we added acetic acid according to the following recipe:
1000 gm of silk or wool, pre-washed and rinsed
2000 gm leaves, finely chopped
25 litres cold water
50 ml 25% acetic acid
We repeated the kneading and rubbing for the best colour…now beautiful sea water blue- green.
We strained out the leaves and added our wet silk and wool. We moved the fibre around and weighed it down in the dye bath. We let it soak for an hour, stirring occasionally. At last we pulled out our precious pieces and watched them bloom into a pale robin’s egg blue. As they hung to drip and dry we were excited to see the various shades and patterns.
This was a very satisfying process, from tending the plants to creating colour. The dyeing day was particularly rewarding. The Indigo Girls were a fun and creative group to share this wonderful time with.
Roberta modelling her beautiful sea foam blue scarf.
By Lynda D
Photos by Deanna Pilling