Dyeing with Indigo

Handspun wool yarn hanging to dry after being hand dyed with indigo

Handspun indigo dyed wool yarn

In an earlier post, I shared my first time dyeing with Madder. At the same friend’s dye-in, we also played with her indigo vat as well. In this post I’ll share some of the photos and videos from that.

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Slag to block printing ink!

While at my friend’s house having the opportunity to work with Madder and Indigo natural dyes, our hostess also demonstrated a method of using slag from an iron forge to make block printing ink (for use on textiles) with linseed oil.

It made me ponder… how many full-time, active smiths would be needed to produce suitable quantities of ink, for a region’s printing industry…?

You can see more of her experiments, processes, and finished goods on Adventures In Block Printing.

Spinning hemp

The amount of processed hemp fibre I processed from the stalks. I wanted to spin this into yarn for the experience.

The amount of processed hemp fibre I had to be able to spin.

In mid-September I posted about learning how to process hemp for fibre in a SCA TUA class. This is a similar process to processing flax for linen, and I found it very interesting! Once I had the fibre though, I really wanted to see about spinning it as well. I didn’t have very much fibre from the large bundle of hemp stalks so I didn’t anticipate the opportunity to MAKE anything with the hemp yarn, but I still wanted to give it a whirl (har har) since I had the material.

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Dyeing with Madder

Madder dyed, undyed, and Aster-Marigold dyed handspun wool. This photo was taken inside at night - hence the change in colour based on the light.

Madder dyed, undyed, and Aster-Marigold dyed wool

A while back a friend proposed a dyeing day at her house. She’d just finished an inspiring natural dyeing class, and wanted to keep playing with fun dyes!

I wanted to join in, so I brought up some of the wool fibre I still had left and hadn’t spun up yet (in this case it was Grade A USA Top, in natural white) and tried to spin it fairly fine. I then decided to ply it too… (because when tight for time… why NOT do twice the work, right?)

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