Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Blue days

It's the first day of school and life at the beach has come to a grinding halt. Hardly a soul in sight.

 Even the gulls are wondering where everybody went.

I took the opportunity to start the project that's been waiting for two years.  Part of that wait involved life changes, part of the time was because of my nerves about screwing it up.  Two years ago I sent for a starter kit for dyeing with indigo.  I received everything I'd need except the lye, which is illegal to ship but any hardware store carries it.

 Hoo boy am I glad I decided to do this project in the "little kitchen" out back.  That powdered indigo is like vacuum cleaner dust.  Open the bag and it's everywhere and the more you wipe it up the more it spreads.  I also didn't have anything to measure with correctly.  I know dry measure is different than wet measure but I flew by the seat of my pants and used what I had.  A shot glass.  If I had used these two waning years to gather the correct utensils and measures I would have been smart, right?  I DID have a small, ancient scale I used 40 years ago, but the numbers are all worn off so I decided not to use it (!!)  That little beaker in the back of the photo was NOT used.  It made me too nervous.

So, here goes....

 I measured the powder into the wide mouth canning jar. Isn't this gorgeous??
 Added some hot hot water and made a paste. Looks like blueberry jam, huh?
 I added more water to make an opaque liquid and dissolved the lye.  Yup, I am SO glad I wasn't in the house for this.  They said not to inhale the lye and they meant it.
Look at that color change to green after the last addition to the mixture.  In undeveloped countries they use a bucket of urine for this step and I think what I was given was a form of dried urine.  The instructions said I could use the "real stuff" if I wanted but PH just couldn't imagine me squatting over a five gallon bucket each time I needed to make a deposit.  I decided the powdered stuff would be just fine.

At this point I needed to test it by dipping some solution into a white plastic cup and see if it changed from green to blue as it oxidized.  Well, you know how just after you have a garage sale or clean out and toss you suddenly need what you don't have anymore?  All of the plastic cups that have been sitting around here for years were put into the garage sale and sold Saturday.  Now, two days later I needed one.  I used a plastic tupperware measuring cup instead.  And it worked!  The green turned to blue as it oxidized!

Put the lid on the jar and store it in a dark place till next step.

Tomorrow, step two.  Maybe.  Unless it takes me another two years to get my nerve up to try to actually dye some fabric and yarn.


  1. Paragraph after that last photo? I burst out laughing! TOO funny :)

  2. Goodness me what a process. Beautiful photos.

  3. Hopefully your instructions said to use a respirator and never use the shot glass, jar or measuring cup in the kitchen again, so important when during to keep separate. Lethal! :-) cant wait to see the fabric, perhaps shibori??? You go girl!