Mood Indigo

My treat this week was time to set up an indigo dye vat. While I was looking for something else on Sunday, I found some “instant” indigo I picked up a while back but hadn’t tried it yet. I had fabric I wanted to dye for holiday gifts, and it didn’t take long for me to decide that everyone would like blue. Hear that, everyone?

Indigo dye vat from recycled water jug

Of course, if I bought the sodium hydrosulfite I needed when I bought the indigo, I couldn’t find it. So I called Dharma for advice. They are lovely people, and always so helpful. The woman I spoke with suggested a substitute I might be able to find locally — Rit Color Remover.

She also told me that the Rit product is already mixed with soda ash — really good to know, so I didn’t add more. I did some advanced (for me) algebra to convert the proportions for a 5 gallon container to a 3 gallon container (that’s the 12,000 ml on the jug), and guessed on the quantity of Color Remover. Four packages of the stuff did the job, and I might have gotten away with less.

I mixed up the vat on Monday afternoon, and let it rest overnight. Monday night I scoured fabric and did some simple twisted and tied resists and one simple clamped resist.  Tuesday I was ready to dye.

Dyeing went really fast. At one point Bill came out to see how this works. I stuck a handful of pink crochet roses into the vat for about five seconds. When they came out, he got to see them go from green to blue in a matter of seconds.

Since I don’t have running water in my studio, I haul stuff to the house for rinsing and washing. I managed not to drip dye on the hardwood floor while heading to the laundry tub in the basement. Whew.

After a whole lot of rinsing, washing and ironing, here are the results.

In addition to a whole bunch of fabric, I also overdyed some crochet UFOs, quilt blocks and cotton yarn given to me last summer by a friend of my sister-in-law.

Today I found one more thing I meant to dye. Last summer, I had a bit of walnut dye left in the bottom of a mason jar after a solar dye experiment. I shoved a pre-made canvas tote bag into the jar (no scouring, no presoaking — just wadded and shoved). I think I remembered to take it out a couple days later, but it might have been sooner or later. Anyway, I hung it up to dry and haven’t done a thing to it since. Here’s what it looked like after the walnut dye but before overdying with indigo.

I’ll post a photo of the bag after the indigo overdye next time.

One last picture for today: My husband just made me a new rolling design “wall.” It’s like Christmas came early.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Add your voice to the conversation at

Published by

Donna Kallner

fiber artist, teacher and explorer, inspired by ancient fiber techniques and all the ways contemporary fiber artists give old ideas a new spin

2 thoughts on “Mood Indigo”

Comments are closed.