This week I wanted to share with you the fun I had while prepping my samples for the Sindri Cowl Kits. These kits include 100 yds each of 100% Alpaca & 80/20% Alpaca/Silk yarn from Alpacas at Willowbrook & include the option of adding an Indigo Dyeing Kit when you order. (Buy your kit HERE)
The idea with the kits was to include 2 different yarn bases so that it's a fun experiment when you dye the yarn since both bases will take the dye differently. (Alpaca fiber absorbs dye differently than Silk fiber does.) Indigo dyeing has been something that's interested me for awhile now & I've seen a few demonstrations on it so I already knew the basic premise.
The kits that I chose to use provide a very simple intro into the world of Indigo Dyeing. Everything comes in handy packets with very clear and simple instructions. All I had to do was buy a 5 gallon bucket from the hardware store & fill it with about 4 gallons of warm tap water before adding the powders. I'm really very much a novice at this so I'm not positive what all the powders do, but they worked so I'm happy, lol.
To keep track of which yarn was which, I put the tags that I use for my handspun onto the skeins and marked them. These tags are just waterproof wristbands like you get at concerts or events & they are super cheap to buy online. (The brand pictured here is the Goldistock brand and I really like them.)
One of the best parts of using this kit for my first attempt at dyeing yarn at home is that I didn't have to pre-mordent my yarn. Usually with natural dyeing you would have to mordent the yarn ahead of time so that the colors will take, but not with this! You just get your yarn wet and you're set to go. All the fun of dyeing & not much of the actual prep-work!
Number 1 rule for Indigo: Don't incorporate oxygen into the dye.
This may seem like an odd point to keep in mind, but Indigo dye (when in the dye pot) is a greenish-yellow color. It turns blue when exposed to oxygen (oxidation). So, it's important to not let the liquid dye get filled with bubbles from vigorous stirring and such.
This weird looking goop is called the "flower" (aka: foam). It forms on top of the dye & my instructions said to either push it out of the way or remove it while dyeing & add it back when you're done. I did neither because I'm good at following instructions like that. The only effect that I noticed on my finished skeins of yarn were a few slightly darker spots where the flower had clung on and added a bit of concentrated dye to the yarn. Not something that bothered me, but I can see how it would bother some.
(You can see my curious little helper reflected in the vat of dye. He thought that this whole event was amazing & extremely fun. ^_^)
We moved everything over to the grass for the actual dyeing since we really didn't need blue splotches on our driveway. It's good to keep your yarn in hanks for even dyeing. Be sure to tie it in a few places so that the yarn doesn't get all knotted during the dyeing process.
Take care when putting the yarn into the vat that you don't just toss it in. You want to slowly add it so that you don't add bubbles into the dye vat.
(Hehe, notice how well I listened about moving the flower out of the way...)
Here you can see how the dye really is a shade of yellowish-green, not the denim blue that we're used to associating with indigo. (Fun fact: Indigo is what gives denim it's color.)
Isn't it like magic!?! I love this moment so so much! I'm normally not much of a fan of blue yarns (I don't dislike them, but they aren't pink or green...), but after seeing this I wanted to dye everything in sight just so that I could re-watch this moment as the dye oxidizes on the yarn. Love it!
Here's how it looked after all the color-changing finished. Notice the dark splotches on it? That's where the flower clung to the yarn & the tag. Don't worry, though, there's still plenty of foam in the bucket!
Both skeins all laid out post dyeing (I rinsed and hung them up later). You can't really see much of a color difference yet, but once the dye was rinsed out it's more obvious.