Today, the kids and I had a wonderful time with Indigo. I found that my local craft shop carries Indigo dye that is pre-reduced which means that it can be used right away. Earth Guild also has good information on natural dyes and mordants on their website. Generally it can take some time to make an indigo dye bath. Instead of using lye, as in the traditional method, washing soda is used to maintain the pre-reduced dye. (In addition to sodium hydrosulfate, which needs to be handled with care-we wore gloves, and masks are recommended when handling the powder) It was interesting to see the rich green color of the bath slowly oxidize in the fabric when it met the air, to a deep blue shade. It seems to be the perfect solution for stained socks and t-shirts.
We also gathered with the local Waldorf handwork group to dye playsilks, as we did last summer. Some of the natural dyes included clematis (pale yellow), red onion skins ( earthy orange) and black eyed susan (pale purple/ green). We also had some food coloring dye baths to make the brighter shades. A photographer took some images for an article on the Waldorf education movement in the area coming out in the WNC Parent next month. It is really exciting to be a part of the community, and watch as it grows strong. Azalea Mountain School will be opening the first Kindergarten class in the Fall.
indigo, red onion skins and black eyed susan (the onion skin dye faded a bit in the hot wash)