September 13, 2013

Today i post from the computer- a rarity for this blog.  but i was sitting here with my coffee and looking over my google alerts and morning emails and saw something that made me want to write this post.  i don’t think it is ready for the main blog but something i think those here and perhaps over on the indigo forum might find relevant.  especially the indigo forum so i will post over there as well.

here is what i saw first.

http://almondsurfboards.com/blogs/news/9049695-hand-dyed-indigo-tees-limited-run

and then this-

http://www.mademan.com/mm/how-stop-color-running-dark-jeans.html

and wondering where people get this stuff from i found many such sites all repeating the same sort of jargon-from henna and indigo hair dyeing and more.  what came first? the chicken or the egg? the science or the tweet?

as the “trend” of indigo winds its way through popular culture without any real understanding or reverence for knowledge of the ages it can be expected that this sort of thing will occur.  and then the “new” knowledge can supplant the old. it can be tweeted, tumbled, posted, liked, shared,  but what if the “new” knowledge is completely wrong?  

“After being dip dyed- the shirts get rinsed, dried, rinsed again in a vinegar and salt solution (to prevent bleeding), washed, hung dry…”

so of course i know this is simply not true.  but it might “ring true” to someone who knows nothing about dyeing indigo.  or to a couple of surfers from the OC of NB who decide to dye some “natural” indigo (translation-they likely bought an indigo kit which uses synthesized indigo that has been pre-reduced) for their shop.  of course they now have achieved expert status.
they KNOW.

so just to clarify- vinegar or salt rinsing DOES NOT set indigo.  i think we all know here that indigo is only soluble in a reduced state.  insoluble in an oxidized state.  the whole thing about vinegar rinsing comes from the fact that on certain fibers (silk and wool) rinsing in a mild acid solution restores the pH and the hand of the fiber (or hair!).  it does nothing for cotton that a good rinsing won’t do.  Japanese dyers tied their indigo to sticks along the rivers to washout.  after many many dips in the indigo vats.  for hundreds of years.  perhaps we ought to ring them up and let them know that a couple of surfer dudes in OC have discovered THE ANSWER.

of course the new experts don’t back up their nonsense with any science- they simply state FACT!  but if you are interested in a slightly more scientific explanation you can go HERE. and decide for yourself.

OK enough, so much to do.  and the temp is rising here again.  90’s they say.  oh boy!

3 thoughts on “September 13, 2013

  1. goodness Glennis, what’s with the yellow type… hurts my eyes, having hard time focusing from the glare…as for places sent – what a bunch of hooey, not only read the bits about the dyeing, but also checked out the piece on “fitting jeans” – sheesh, they said absolutely NOTHING about how to know if jeans fit, but they did hawk a manual on all the topics listed…I rarely go to the net for advice…I ask You about indigo dyeing…you do it everyday, so therefore, you have the experience to know what you are passing on to inquiring minds…to much BS on the net…
    ant[anna in tampa]

  2. Changing the subject a bit… I have some fresh indigo and am hopeful to do a fresh vat. Do I need to do any preparation to fabric other than washing it? Do I have to scour it and then soak it in alum the way I need to do for other natural dyeing? Do I put it into the indigo vat damp after being soaked or dry? Thank you for all your information! Thank you!!! Bonnie V. in Roanoke, VA

    • just wash and dye the cloth while it is still damp. no alum needed as far as i know. you will want to add some soda ash to up the pH to the 9-10 range. i am not an expert on fresh leaf dyeing. i mostly stick to the fermentation vat.

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