Jacquard, one of my favorite sources of high-quality dyes and fabric products, sent me one of their Indigo Dye Kits to review, and I'm quite pleased.
I've written about Jacquard products before, specifically the Funky Groovy Tie Dye kit, and I must say that Jacquard make a messy process like dyeing cloth as easy as possible.
The kit has everything you need to dye with indigo, except for buckets and fabric. It will dye up to 15 t-shirts and the dye can last for weeks if properly cared for.
Dyeing with indigo is a magical experience, literally! When you mix up the dye vat, it looks greenish yellow under the surface, but when you pull the fabric out, the dye starts to oxidize and turns the quintessential shade of blue that indigo is known for.
You can see some of the green areas in the dye, where oxygen hasn't penetrated the fabric yet.
I had some of the neighbor kids over to "help" me, and they loved the part where the fabric changed from neon green to dark blue.
I mentioned that I used some shibori techniques. Shibori is a Japanese resist dyeing method resist dyeing technique similar to tie-dye, where you create areas in the fabric that resist the dye. In tie-dye, it's done with rubber bands,
but in Japan, it's done with thread and can be done by stitching with a needle or tying. Some of the samples in the first photo were made by tediously stitching the fabric and then pulling it tight and knotting it. Those areas would remain white, as dye can't make its way into those spots. I went for the rubber bands instead.
You can also use a method of clamping using wood, called Itajime, where you fold a piece of cloth like an accordion
and then fold it into a square. You clamp it between two boards and secure with rope or rubber bands (these technique instructions and materials are included with the Jacquard Indigo Dye Kit)
The areas on the outside will be dyed, while the inside will remain white. You can see the result on the center scarf, the one with lots of white in it.
The circle patterns are made by gathering fabric in a point and tying it off with a rubber band.
In shibori, you can find extremely elaborate patterns with thousands of tiny circles no bigger than a grain of rice. They often form an image or pattern. Of course I don't have the patience for that.
The neighbor kids and I ended up dyeing 8 cotton t-shirts, 8 scarfs, a pair of socks, and a skein of wool yarn that will make a nice scarf/hat set.
There was so much dye left over too, that I neglected to save since I doubt I will be doing any more dyeing in the next week or so. But you can keep the dye for a while if you minimize contact with oxygen in the air. You would need to cover it with a lid.
Despite how long this post is, Jacquard's Indigo Dye Kit is extremely easy to use. I just love talking about dyeing, which is why I wrote lots of info here. The only drawback is that the directions for finishing the fabrics isn't clear. It just says rinse, which can be done but I wasn't sure if I could wash these or if I should add vinegar.
I ended up rinsing the yarn in the sink until the water ran clear, and running everything else through the washer a few times. The color still looks vibrant after rinsing, except for a few of the items the neighbor kids brought which weren't 100% cotton. Indigo works best on natural fibers.
So if you're looking for some interesting and educational fun, pick up a Jacquard Indigo Dye Kit, which is only $16.15 at Dharma Trading Company.
But if you want to try your luck, Jacquard is offering one K&K reader
An Indigo Dye Kit!To enter:
Visit Jacquard and leave a comment about something you learned about the company or about indigo.
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You must do the first entry in order to enter ("I want to win, thanks!" comments will NOT be considered). You will have until Sunday September 13th at 11:59pm EST to enter. The winners will be chosen via random number generator the next day and notified by email. I'll also post the winners on my blog HERE. If I don't hear back from the winner by Thursday at noon, I'll pick another.