Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Indigo Dyeing In Deal

Its been 4 years since I did any indigo dyeing   and  without an outside drain in the garden  at our new house , I wasn't sure when I'd get the opportunity to do it again.  So when Glenys from CQ  Kent group  offered to host  an indigo session at her house in Deal while her husband was  away  for a week, I invited myself to stay for a night so we could have 2 days playing  and invited  other group members to join us!  

 The previous  week Glenys picked up all the kit I had stored in our garage ,  I had some new pipes cut  for pole wrapping (which Ian  gamely carried home!)  and I hurriedly put together a requirements list and suggestions  for  what to make in advance including  presewn 'socks' .  

  Glenys met me at the station on the first day   and  we spent the morning setting up  the vats ( with some recalculations required as the markings on the measuring jug weren't easy to read   and I made up   my large blue vessel with too weak a solution!) .  Glenys's facilities  are excellent - a large garage with sinks with hot and cold water  and a large gravelled area  for setting up drying racks. 

After lunch,   Jan, Barbara and Stella arrived and were soon busy in the sun  preparing samples.   It all got rather exciting  as we put  items into  warm  water to soak and then  dunked them carefully in the vats ( poles in the large blue vessel, smaller items in the bucket.) It was lovely to introduce indigo novices to the magic of seeing fabrics turn from yellow to green to blue as they oxidised.  It's a quick process compared to procion dyeing  so we soon had rackfuls of beautiful  cloth to admire. 

With a break for afternoon tea and cake in the shade of a large tree ( it was very hot)  we continued  dyeing until about 5 when were  exhausted   and  J, B and S went   home with their treasures to rinse and wash. After covering over the vats with cling film  and  getting cleaned up ,  Glenys and I went   down to the shore to the  Royal Hotel  for  a well deserved dinner and glass of wine.  

 The next day  was  grey and  overcast ( a big contrast to the  strong sun the day before)  , even some light rain at times, so Glenys and I retreated to the garage.  After ' sharpening' the vats with more hydros ( and transferring  some of the contents of my tall blue vessel into  a bucket ) we spent most of the morning preparing items  for dyeing, including trying some different techniques  there hadn't been time for the day before ( 'donut's' and wrapping around ridged hosing) .  I concentrated on 'scrunching' bits of old quilt in net bags secured with  clips. We then had combined morning coffee and lunch  before the dipping began.   The dye was definately beginning to weaken towards the end of the afternoon - time to pack up

Parcels  waiting to oxidise. 

Glenys unwrapping 

Clearing  and  packing up took a while  and then Glenys took me and the kit home and as it was raining (!)  I set up my wet items on the  balcony airer in  my garage  ( no sinks here, it doesn't even have any light) which left nice marks on the concrete! The following day I  set up the airer in the garden to dry properly . 

On Monday the grand rinsing and  washing session began! We might not have an outside drain but we do have a tap  and I set up the 'painting easel  chairs'  with large trugs for rinsing , the water going on the garden afterwards. Rinsing in cold water is usually my least preferred  part of the process but it was surprisingly enjoyable given the  heat! 
I split my dyed fabric into 2 loads for rinsing and washing ( pole wrapped  and French tea towels above, old  quilts  below)

  I'll share my favourites  in another post   but I was generally very happy with the results and  thanks to Glenys  we had a very enjoyable  and productive session. 

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