indigo and alizarin

The final guild dyeing session for the year was focused on indigo and alizarin- so exciting! I’d been reading about the process of dyeing with indigo and the various methods of removing oxygen from the bath in order to allow the dye molecule to bond to fibres and wondering which we’d use- and it was the hydrosulphite vat method and powdered indigo, as it is the most easily replicated at home. Only slightly less exciting than extracting colour from the fresh plant itself, it really was as magical a process as I was imagining.

Some people dyed fabrics….

Simple pole shibori

but, for most of us, it was all about the yarn.

Jessica dip-dyeing handspun yarn

Not only undyed yarn though- wonderful colours result from overdyeing, especially using indigo over all the yellows and pale greens that are much more commonly achieved with closer-to-home plants- even I had quite a few of those, even though I haven’t been dyeing long…

Wendy's lovely ovedyeing

Despite being a little patchy, I am so happy with my results : )

Wool/ silk: indigo

Wool: from front- indigo, indigo over mint basil, indigo over ironbark

We also dyed with alizarin, which is the dye compound from madder. It has been commercially synthesized for industry use for many years and will be an interesting comparison to dyeing with madder root itself, something in the works for very soon. The resulting colour is a beautiful, subtle coral that is hard to capture!

Wool/ silk: alizarin

Wool/ silk: alizarin, pale exhaust bath

The guild group and teacher Robyn have such a wealth of experience and information- and are so willing to share it. And all for $4…

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2 Responses to indigo and alizarin

  1. Nicole says:

    Playing with natural dyes is such lovely, unpredictable fun. I love your resulting yarn!

  2. balanda says:

    I refuse to do it the stinky way (small place, sensitive partner) so hydrosulphite is the go. Magic, isn’t it!!!

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