Friday, October 31, 2014

My Own Natural Japanese Indigo

Natural Japanese Indigo from my garden.

I was hopeful when the seeds showed up this past April.   They were lovingly planted and hope sprung up as seedlings.  Successfully planted in the garden the plants grew nicely.  The 7 plants I planted branched out and created a nice clump of leaves and small flowers, see the weld in front too.

I was gone most of the summer and I never used the leaves in the 'first' available harvest.
I clipped quite a few leaves (after flowering) and fermented them in a mason jar for more than a week.  Don't forget to hold our nose when you open it up Outside!  The smell is overwelming.  I heated up this to 140 degrees for a couple of hours.  I then sifted out the leafs and squeezed out all the indigo I could.  Re soaking the bundle and squeezing some more. 

 Then you pour the liquid back and forth for about 5 minutes.  I never got the froth to be blue - I think I picked the leaves too late in the season but it was still was worth getting the color I got.  Try to keep the vat warm/hot.  I then sprinkled spectra light - or - Rite color remover (found amongst the dye rack) = about a Tablespoon or so, then let it rest at 120 degrees for another couple of hours.  I soaked the merino wool in very warm water, then added it to the dye vat.

 Unlike indigo crystals, you need to leave your fiber in the indigo vat for 20-30 minutes each dip.  The liquid is a beautiful brown yellow and then when you pull out the fiber its such a thrill to watch it turn from yellow to green to blue. YAY. 

I really love the color that came out was a wonderful sea foam blue.  I have a second pot on the stove right now and I will be seeing if I can get a stronger blue to spin up a darker skein.

 I also have the left over flowers hanging in the kitchen.  They were pollenated and now since it turned too cold to seed outside, I cut them and brought them inside.  After a day or so I will place a bag over them to catch the tiny black seeds when they start to fall.  Hopefully.

This Fall has just been gorgeous this year - really enjoying the warmer weather and Fall colors.

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