Things To Dye For, Indigo Edition

Usually it is my wife who blogs about artistic matters, leaving me to cover the areas of food and gardening along with the occasional side trip into nature or travel. But today I’m going to step ever so slightly outside of my comfort zone and talk about some of the artistic things she made for me. Lynda has been working with indigo lately, as she was getting ready to teach her Indigo Dyeing Class. So I asked her to dye a few things for me, while she had an active indigo pot going. And today I want to share of few of those here.

removing material from the dye pot

removing material from the dye pot

Pretty much all I know about indigo I have learned from my wife. For instance, I know that it is a plant based dye made from plants of the genus Indigofera. And I know it makes some beautiful blue colors on fabrics. Fortunately she knows a whole lot more than I do about the subject! I took some photos of one of her recent dyeing sessions to help document some of the process involved, which I find fascinating. In the above photo, she is removing one of the pieces and cutting the string she used to tie up the material. It was a beautiful sunny day so she is working outside, and I am playing photographer.

shirt after being untied

shirt after being untied

When you remove the material from the dye pot, the color is initially a yellow green. As the dye reacts to the oxygen, it turns blue. It looks like magic, but it’s really science. In the above photo, the shirt has just been untied and fully exposed to the air. You can still see some of the greenish areas at this point. This particular shirt is a spun bamboo t-shirt made of 70% bamboo and 30% cotton.

indigo dyed shirt after being exposed to air

indigo dyed shirt after being exposed to air

The above photo of the same shirt was taken about 15 minutes later. Notice how the areas that were green are now blue, and the blue areas are a deeper shade of blue.

indigo dyed bamboo shirt

indigo dyed bamboo shirt

Next the shirt needs to be washed and dried. That lightens up the color a bit, and the end result shown in the above photo is a one of a kind shirt for me to wear. I’ve already worn the shirt several times, and it is comfortable as well as colorful.

indigo dyed cotton t-shirt

indigo dyed cotton t-shirt

Another shirt she did for me is a bit darker overall. It’s a 100% cotton shirt, with a comfy soft feel and a generous neck opening. I can’t stand a shirt that is too tight at the neck, which is why I was never a fan of turtlenecks.

indigo dyed tank top

indigo dyed tank top

She dyed quite a few things that day, including some napkins for us and some shirts for herself. She dyed a tank top for me that I intend to wear around the house, using a spiral pattern on it. We both loved the look so much, I asked her to do a few more spiral pieces in a later dying session.

indigo bandana with spiral pattern

indigo bandana with spiral pattern

We bought some white cotton bandanas for dyeing, so she dyed one of them in a spiral pattern too. It’s almost too pretty to use, but use it I will!

indigo dyed bandana

indigo dyed bandana

She tied another bandana in a different pattern. I think it sort of resembles snowflakes.

spiral pattern t-shirt

spiral pattern t-shirt

And she dyed another t-shirt for me with the spiral pattern, this time another one made from 100% cotton. And I simply love the wild look. Thanks again to my artistic wife for dyeing all these lovely pieces for me. I think I could go almost anywhere and not have to worry about anyone else wearing similar shirts. I think I will be all set for indigo things for a while. It is a good thing that blue is my favorite color too! I’ll be back soon with more happenings here at HA.

 

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6 Responses to Things To Dye For, Indigo Edition

  1. Margaret says:

    Beautiful shirts – Just love that last pattern. I’m also thinking that you can make some wonderful & unique tablecloths. Do you grow the plants that create the dye as well?
    Margaret recently posted…Soil and My Weed NemesisMy Profile

    • Dave says:

      Ooh, a tablecloth is a great idea! I will pass that on to my wife. The napkins turned out really well I think.

      We don’t grow the plants. I believe it is quite a process to get them from plant to dye.

  2. Daphne says:

    Lovely shirts. And I really like the pattern on the second bandana.

  3. Wow. I am left speechless. So gorgeous. Table cloth, Great idea! You and Lynda are so creative.
    Lou Murray’s Green World recently posted…My southern California garden in AugustMy Profile

  4. Liz Cratty says:

    You should live in Eugene, Oregon.Tie-dye is still the uniform of the day out here.

    Lovely dye work.

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