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Second Try, Natural Dye-The Indigo edition, Part 1

I harvested indigo on 8/17/22 and submerged the stalks in a large vat of water and left it covered in the garden. I had planned to let it ferment 4 days but extended that until I could accurately test pH while alkalinizing the solution. The pH strips I had on hand were limited to testing for acid levels only, so I had to order new ones and await arrival.

I did check it a few times and noted it was progressing as expected.




It took quite a bit of lime to get the pH up to the 10 range – I ended up at about 12.

I aerated by stirring with a large paddle for a good 20-30 minutes, noting changes along the way.

First some light blue foam formed; then the quantity of foam increased significantly and became an increasingly darker blue.



Eventually there was very little foam, and the water was a midnight blue (or so it appeared in the fading light of dusk under the shade of the squash and honeysuckle vines growing overhead).




I covered it back up, planning to check it after about 24 hours to see how much pigment settled out (optimistically assuming I properly prepared the solution to this point).

After work (about 6pm) 8/26/22 I checked the container and noticed the water was relatively clear. Yay (assuming the pigment had settled out).





I removed 10 gallons of liquid, neutralized, and disposed of it. Then removed some more until I seemed to be stirring up the sediment in the process.

I strained the remaining liquid through an old pillowcase (after stirring the sediment into the liquid). I left it for several hours to strain.





After straining the pigment particles, I set the pigment paste in the sun to dry for a few days.


After it was dried, I stored the powder for later use. As excited as I was to try dyeing some yarn I was (as usual) much too busy with summer farm chores.

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