Indigo is a natural blue pigment indigotin derived from the plant Indigofera tinctoria. The pigment produces a richness of natural blue shades from light to dark navy/indigo blue. it is versatile and can be used for a range of fabrics, fibres and yarns, and is particularly great for over-dyeing to create shades of greens and purples. Using LAC or cochineal to first dye your material and then a few dips with indigo will produce lovely purple shades.
The first step to indigo dyeing is to source a high quality natural indigo powder that is produced and fermented from crushed Indigofera tinctoria leaves. The second step is to decide what sort of dye vat you wish to set up.
Traditional Indigo vat
This indigo vat is also known as the workhorse indigo dye vat. This vat creates dependable results and is easy to set up. in this vat, thiourea dioxide (thiox) or Sodium dithionite is used as the reducing agent, and soda ash is used for alkalinity. All components have a long shelf-life and can be disposed of safely. Visit our site and look for Wonky Weaver Traditional Indigo Dye kit which contains everything you need including full instructions.
Fruit/Organic Indigo vat
The fruit vat or organic vat is set up using calx (calcium hydroxide) also known as slaked lime or hydrated lime to create the correct level of alkalinity.. Do not confuse it with “quick lime” (calcium oxide) which is very corrosive. Fruits or other powdered dyes such as madder or henna can then be used to reduce then vat, removing oxygen and adding their own distinctive colouring to the dye Vat. Visit our site and look for Wonky Weaver Organic Indigo Dye kit and select between Henna or Fructose. The kits contain everything you need including full instructions.
Iron "ferrous" Indigo vat
The iron indigo vat uses soda ash for alkalinity and iron for oxygen reduction, and gives green hues to the dyed products. The advantage is that it can be set up as a cold vat that is great for cellulose and some silks; however, it is not recommended for wool because of the iron. The Ferrous Vat gives a beautiful dark indigo and has the advantage of being a cold vat that keeps for months. Visit our site and look for Wonky Weaver Iron "ferrous" indigo dye kit.
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