You might recall that in a previous post I mentioned ‘tie dyeing’ with indigo natural dyes, and that at a class I had another chance to try this out. This class took place at Harvest Feast, an SCA event in September as part of the Shire of Bitter End.
This post will share photos and some information from that class… though some of the insights from our instructor I also shared in the previous indigo-related posts!
For this class, our instructor had a number of cotton handkerchiefs soaking in a pre-mordant, and had prepared the indigo dye pot specifically for cellulose fibres. She had a number of elastic bands, and showed us an example of a hankie that had been scrunched, tied with elastics, and dyed. It had a mottled, uneven, organic look.
We each selected a hankie from the mordant, squeezed out the liquid, and then picked our design and started to tie the hankie with the elastic bands. Two of the class participants chose to accordion fold their hankies, the Baroness of Montengarde (mundanely Calgary) opted for a bullseye effect, while I did tiny pinches in a method similar to an arashi shibori technique I learned about in design school… but never did attempt (in that method the pinches are sewn, not tied off with elastics – very time consuming!).
From there she instructed us on how to lower the bundle down into the dye pot, slowly as to not cause any splashing or introducing unnecessary air into the dye pot.
We marked our bundles with our name and the time, with the intention to soak the cotton in the dye vat for 10 minutes.
In the photo to the right, the Baroness of Borealis (mundanely, Edmonton, Alberta) is lowering her handkerchief into the indigo dye vat.
Once the bundles had soaked for 10 minutes, we pulled them out and let them dry slightly for 20 minutes. At this point we could untie all or part of the design and re-dunk if we wanted.
One of our classmates did, and on the second dunk, her original design nearly completely disappeared, so I opted not to untie and re-dunk my handkerchief, but instead just re-dunked as-is. The second dunk was an additional 20 minutes, and from there the bundles could drip-dry and then be untied.
The bundle from the above video is below – this classmate (a youth, hence I didn’t shoot her face) accordion pleated her handkerchief, and hung it to dry showing off the lines and gradation from intense blue to pale.
Below, the Montengarde Baroness’ tie-dyed indigo cotton handkerchief, done in a bullseye pattern.