Saturday, September 11, 2010

PJ's in Blue

Japanese Indigo In Flower
Wow! Today was awesome! I harvested the Japanese Indigo this morning (The woad and weld didn't quite make it). It hit me not long ago that summer was fading. August had come and gone and the nights are getting cooler (yes!). I was hoping that it wasn't too late to use the leaves to dye a pair of my pajamas (PJ's), better known by me as loungers. I should have done this a few weeks ago...

The indigo had been growing in the side yard all summer long. It did very well even though the plants never got really full. They branched out and got nice and tall, but they never seemed to fill in the space that I gave them.

Plucking off the leaves didn't take me long at all. I was just worried that I wouldn't have enough to do much with. The book, A Dyer's Garden, by Rita Buchanan, suggested 8oz of leaves to dye 2 - 4 oz of fiber/yarn. I crammed them into a glass jar, hurried them into the house, weighed them in another container and ta dah! I had 7.9 oz.

Stop! There's No More Room!
I followed the directions in the book with the exception that I used Rit Color Remover (from the grocery store) instead of Spectralite. My supply was old and I feared that it wouldn't work. I used .5oz of Rit in a cup of warm water and then added that to the pot and slowly stirred.

Cooking Down
While the pot was 'doing its thing' I took my jammies and gave them a quick wash and spin. Then I took some rubber washers and pulled some of the material though them in random places for a tie-dye look. In a few spots I used large washers with smaller ones over the area to give a 'circle in a circle' look when the dyeing was done.

Indigo "White"
Spots of Blue - And The Usual Coppery Scum
The bottoms were dyed after the top had used up some of the dye, so they were a bit lighter. I gave them a second dip. They too had rubber washers on them. Still a bit lighter, but it was time to wrap things up for the day.

And now - more pictures!

Indigo On Cotton
Drip! Here You Can See Some Of The Indigo Is Still In It's 'White' State
Shirt: Front
Shirt: Back w/"Circle In Circle"
Bottoms: Front