So, finally!!! All my ingredients came in to be able to experiment with my first indigo vats! There is something quite mysterious and exciting about working with this ancient color. Many of the dye techniques are exactly the same as those used thousands of years ago to produce the exact same color! Of course, that's true of most natural dye methods, but still. There's just something different about indigo.
I've been reading and re-reading different recipes on the internet, trying to figure out which vat was the one for me. So, I settled on trying two different small vats this first time out, just to weigh the pros and cons of each method.
The first vat I put together is a cold water dye bath. It consists of indigo, ferrous sulphate (or iron) and calx (pickling lime). This one is stinky for sure, but to be honest they both are. The steps for prepping this vat were fairly straightforward;
- prep hot, nearly boiling water and add to your dye vat (I'm using a large glass jar).
- add 20 g indigo
- add 40g ferrous sulphate (iron)
- add 60g lime (calx)
- stir gently, taking care not to add excess oxygen to the dye bath
- wait! (that's the part I'm at now)
The second vat that I put together is a fructose vat. It's also really straightfoward, and I made mine in a contractors bucket from the hardware store. Make sure if you use a plastic bucket that it's heatproof, so it doesn't melt on you when you add in your boiling water. So here's how the fructose vat is prepped:
- prep hot, nearly boiling water and add it to your dye vat
- add 20 g indigo
- add 60g fructose
- add 40 g lime (calx)
- stir gently, again taking care not to add excess oxygen to the dye bath
So, I have decided to leave mine sitting overnight, to let all of it settle in nicely, before attempting any dyeing. I'll make sure to share what happened next with each batch later!