Taking care of business!

I had one of those really productive weekends. I got my office desk cleaned up on Saturday and then focused on two projects that had been pending for some time. One was to get all the sheep coats repaired from all summer. I had cleaned them but the stack grew to 15 repair jobs which took a good 3 hours. The second project was to dye a pound of yarn with indigo for a customer. So I combined the two and voila, all complete in less than 4 hours! I had already mordanted the yarn a few weeks ago. Although mordanting is not necessary with indigo, I believe it makes the color much more lightfast and I want my customer to be happy with the color for a long time to come!

I always have two indigo vats ready, one indigofera tinctoria and the other indigofera guatemalensis, so when I am ready to dye I just adjust for pH and oxygen reduction and I am ready to dye. The adjustment takes about 1/2-3/4 hour. So while I waited for the reactions to take place I sewed some coats, then I did my first dip for the pound of fiber, had to wait at least a half hour for the indigo to oxidize on the fiber, sewed some more coats, did the second dip for the pound of fiber and then wrapped up sewing the rest of the coats.

The yarn is gorgeous so far. My customer has always admired a sweater I wear and wanted to have a shade as close as possible to that, so I kept the sweater nearby and dipped accordingly. I will post another picture in a day or so when the yarn is rinsed. I now need to let the yarn set for 24 hours after the last dip before an afterbath in vinegar (1/4 cup per pound of fiber) and then a wash and rinse. I think the match will be close and I am most excited for the results!

Pictures top to bottom: the sheep coat sewing table; my winter dyeing room just off the kitchen, ready to go; the pH test of the indigo vat; indigo vat ready for dyeing with a perfect yellow/green color; and the yarn just out of the vat after 8 seconds; and then just a few moments later as it magically turns blue with the oxidation!

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