Thursday, May 10, 2007

Interesting dyeing fact and question...

Got this from a middle school science experiment worksheet...

Fun Facts:

- The law in France that threatened dyers with the death sentence if they were found using indigo instead of woad has never been repealed.

- A 1762 indigo recipe recommends using urine, "preferably of those who drink strong drinks."

Hmmm... Well, thank goodness Earth Guild has come up with a way to use good old yeast to ferment the indigo...

I'm making baby things for my little sister, since she is expecting her first in August. I'm working on a blanket right now and should be done by the end of the weekend (I only have about another 12 inches to knit before binding off). Then I'll do at least one hat (maybe more in different sizes) and booties and socks until I run out of my soft cotton yarn.

What has this to do with indigo and dyeing, you may ask? Well, everything... I want to dye all this stuff with indigo after I'm finished (along with quite a lot of wool handspun) and I'm wondering if it will work... The cotton yarn is white Peaches n' Cream. I had two 1 lb. cones of it just begging me to use them, so I did. I think it will work even though the cotton is bleached, since indigo is not like other dyes, which bind to mordants and/or fabrics. Indigo, from what I understand, will stick to a lot of things, including itself, by itself, and mordants have little to no effect on how much adheres to fibers. From what I understand, indigo goes on like... like fine glitter to skin (my analogy), it will eventually rub off no matter what, and while it kinda sticks, it never permanently bonds... So I'm thinking that it would still work with bleached cotton... Does that sound like a good theory? And does anyone have any practical knowledge in this?

4 comments:

ilana said...

I got some cotton yarn dyed with indigo at the local BigLots last year. It's really soft, but the dye rubs off and stains fingers and hands.
Just looked at the EG site, and one of the other recipes calls for lye and Thio-Urea Dioxide. Speaking from experience, lye is extremely harsh and tends to bleach colors out... one of my tee shirts has a bleached spot on the chest because I got raw soap on it while I was working outside.
According to wikipedia, the darker shades are likely to be more colorfast. I'll keep looking and see what else I can find. In the meantime, good luck!

Rachael said...

BigLots had indigo dyed yarn? Lucky you! Our BigLots have nothing even remotely useful in them.

Well, the Lye and Thio-Urea Dioxide oxidize the indigo to turn it yellow so it will dye. I think, like with soap, once it's oxidized a chemical reaction has changed the lye to something else... I could be wrong about that, but that's what I think happens. But in any case, I'm going to be oxidizing with yeast the first time I try it. Safer, not caustic and if it works, less hassle for me setting up the vat.

ilana said...

If you want it, and if I can find it, I'll put it in the box with your alpaca wool.
Last year our BigLots had a lot of yarn, but I haven't seen any yet this year.
One of my friends said he once saw a sign at a BigLots where the L wasn't lit, so the sign said "Bigots". I occasionally call our BigLots "Bigots" when I'm crabby. :P

Rachael said...

LOL! Yeah, I try to stay away from our BigLots. They're pretty nasty and I've only ever gone in out of total desperation looking for something...

Sure, if you can find it and it's not too much trouble.