Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mysterious Mud

Yesterday was a most satisfying day at the Guild. Despite another cold wet day for our Indigo Experiments, the vat was much happier, and so was I. In fact, I think I amused and perhaps even annoyed some of my companions by bouncing around muttering, "happy, happy, happy" to myself! This was my third experience with indigo. If the first highlighted the mystery and the second, the capriciousness of the vat; this was an experience of possibility and hope. Sure, the set-up was awkward, with half a dozen eager humans crowding around a boiler set up in the back entranceway of the hall. Sure, there were moments of anxiety and impatience as we waited and observed each others learning. But throughout the day, the indigo vat did its magic and turned the fibres from white, through yellow-green to that wonderful blue.

When I was preparing my bits and pieces in the morning, I picked up this skein at the last minute. You can see it doesn't feature in the pile of yarn I'd prepared before yesterday's blog post. It's a skein of fine cotton, which I'd dip dyed with procion some months ago. There were areas of the deep fuscia-red, areas of a pale pink and a fair bit of undyed white. I wanted to know what would happen if I overdyed it with indigo. After a good long soak in a bucket of warm water with a little detergent, in it went. The first dip gave an unexpected distinction. It was as if the indigo was unable to penetrate the areas which had been dyed with the procion--even where the colour was quite faint. A second dip gave this result: The blue is there, and the original red--but then this muddy grey-brown in several areas between the two. It's dried off overnight and there's no change to the colour. I haven't tried washing it yet. Maybe the muddy brown will rinse out. I hope so! Otherwise, I'll have another indigo puzzle to mull over.


Dee said...

you did say that he indigo goes yellow-green before turning blue. Does that mean that there is some yellow in the indigo? If so that may answer the brown question.

Textile Tragic said...

. . . well, not really. The crazy thing about indigo is that it's only yellow when oxygen is excluded--in the vat--and then turns blue on exposure to air. This skein has been well and truly aired, so has no right to retain a yellow or muddy cast! So there:(