Today is my day for dyeing with indigo. I'm using the indigo dye kit from Maiwa which is pretty simple to use. Okay, simple to use, but not so simple to understand because there's some pretty major chemistry going on. But the instructions are good.
Indigo isn't like other dye. It requires a complicated chemical process to transform the blue dye particles from stable particles into a yellow, water-soluble substance. By removing oxygen from the vat, changing the PH, stuff like that, we can dip the cloth into the yellow/copper liquid and when the item emerges from the vat, the molecules react to the oxygen in the air and turn blue. Pretty nifty stuff.
There are lots of different kinds of vats. Fermenting, chemical (which is the one I'm doing today) and something else I can't remember. You can also make a similar blue colour with woad.
Woad grows really well here with zero inputs, on moderatly crappy soil. It's actually great for breaking up compact soil because it has long, penetrating tap roots.
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