Friday, June 17, 2011

dyeing party

had a little dyeing party in the backyard last night.  we had trouble getting the zinc-lime indigo vat going in the advanced dyeing class at the workroom, so i had promised the students that once i got mine going at home, i would invite them all over for some dipping.

and it was even better, because since then i have also gotten my natural fermentation vat going.  the mini one that i wrote about a few weeks ago worked out so well that i started up a second, slightly bigger one.  i had only ever done a natural fermentation vat once, years and years ago, and i had never really been motivated to do it again, since that vat took a really long time to be ready (six weeks!), and even then wasn't very strong.  but i now realise that the problem wasn't the vat, but the time of year.  last time i tried it was winter, and i struggled to even keep my vat at room temperature, just like my zinc-lime vat this past winter. that it's warm, and i've got my vats up in my (cooking hot) attic studio, everything is coming up blue.

the natural fermentation vat is really quite easy, and last night we were getting some beautiful blue in a wonderful range of intensities.  i linked to the recipe that i used a few posts ago, but i'll come back soon and do a post with more details of how i made my vat, and perhaps some discussion of the different types of vats.

but first, some photos of our dyeing fun:

it was lovely to see the backyard all covered in fabrics and yarns in various stages of dipping and oxydizing.

one of my favorite parts of shibori is the 'reveal', when you unfold the fabric and see what kind of design you've created.  this is karyn's lovely window pane piece.


susan put on a pot of cochineal and added some lime juice to it.  the acid from the limes brings out the red, especially on wool.  i dyed the ends of a few skeins of superwash merino to create some new variegated colourways that i'll have in the shop soon.

the evening was overseen by my trusty studio assistant, who managed to escape the fate of indigo dipped paws.

it was a great night, so much fun to be dyeing in a group like that.  arounna has posted some lovely photos, including one of the indigo flower on top of the zinc-lime vat (which is how you know your vat is ready to dye).


  1. those blues are heavenly
    my little mini vats are just about exhausted so I am ready to scale up a bit
    I am so sorry to have missed the fun

  2. yours and arounna's pics are great - looks like you guys had a great time with the dye pots. i just started my natural fermentation vat tonight, so if i'm lucky in a week or so maybe i can get some blues too, although i think my main issue will be keeping it warm too. thanks for sharing your fun evening through photos.

  3. I was so happy with the results
    I think I will have to start my own small vat
    could you post the recipe?

  4. Julie, the dyes and the results and the photos of the back yard are all great.
    Love, Mom

  5. thank you julie for a lovely blue evening. it was so much fun to dye outdoors in such great company. ok. now i really gotta catch up and post my photos!