With overcast skies and lower temps (mid-80’s) it was time to tackle the garden and trim down the indigos. I had been down from some surgery and after a month recovery I actually have some energy to tackle the garden and try to catch up. Both the Japanese Indigo and the Indigo Suffruticosa have been playing nicely together in the prime bed. The Suff can be a bully and shade out the JI. If my alternate indigo bed works out on the west side of the house my prime bed will go back to Japanese Indigo. In the meantime there is trimming to do. Here’s the start…
The cage is to keep the raccoons from digging for grubs around my Japanese Indigo. I ended up with eight bundles of JI to dry. These leaves will dry over the next week as our temps jump back up and be stored for more dried leaf dye experiments.
I used the shorter cuttings and trimmings to do some blender indigo. I couldn’t bear to let any indigo leaf go to waste!
I keep the JI leaves in iced water until I could get to them. I then trimmed out my Indigo Suffrucitosa to put another batch into a soak.
That trimming yielded about 1700 grams of leaves. They’ve been tucked in a tall pot, given water and sat aside to soak a couple of days to free up the indigo from the leaves….rot it out!
There was another IS batch prepped this week and proved itself an indigo pot. I added slaked lime and some solar ground madder root I had on hand to help reduce the pot, looking back at yesterday I tested some napkins and the pot proved ready to work. Here’s yesterday’s results from Indigo Suffrucitosa reduced with rotten madder root with a ph kick of slaked lime.
Today I dipped a linen shirt I found in a Santa Fe thrift shop, it came out a great dark blue after two five minute dips and a hour oxidation between the dips.
Turning my attention back to the iced Japanese Indigo I popped it thru the blender and filtered it to keep the mashed leaves out of my dye bath. I had an indigo shirt which had faded with washing so I wanted to freshen the color. It will show as green but will shift to indigo blue slowly. It is another white shirt I picked up at a thrift store that needed a new life.
Finally, earlier this year I believe I posted my silk skeins that turned a mystery purple/lavender. I popped those in the blender indigo to overdue the lavender to shift to the more traditional indigo blue. Here’s the before & after!
These skeins might go into the IS pot with some other skeins from last year. Layering the blues makes them so rich! Or I might stop with this blue. It depends on how they level out after washing.
So….from my Indigo Suffrucitosa on the left I get the deep blue and on the right I get my Japanese Indigo green. It will slowly shift to the indigo blue we know. All of my materials are oxidizing now to strengthen the indigo bond and I will neutralize all with vinegar bath tomorrow so the slaked lime high ph will not weaken the goods. A good day clearing the garden and catching up on some dyeing!