Lesson Two of my indigo workshop is all about dyeing larger pieces of fabric.The first challenge was to evenly dye a yard of fabric in a single solid colour. ‘EVEN’ being the key word here.
It took me an hour to fix my VAT. I haven’t used it in 5 days, so it had deranged completely. This was my first attempt at reviving a VAT and though Glennis provides detailed steps and a QA on VAT revival, I was still a little nervous going about it. After some heat, soda ash and thiox, it finally got going. Phew.
It’s essential that the fabric is exposed to the indigo uniformly, so simply dunking it inside the vat won’t do the job. I followed Glennis’s steps to feed the fabric in slowly, allowing for maximum exposure to the indigo and then working the fabric inside the vat. It’s equally important to expose the entire fabric to the air so that it oxidizes uniformly.
Part 2 of Lesson Two is to create a “sky-like” fabric. To create this effect, you do the exact opposite of the above. You scrunch up the fabric using thread or rubber bands, dip in the vat, let it oxidise. Then you rinse it, and repeat the process till you achieve the desired amount of blue in the piece! This is the sky-piece after one dip.
Many other students had posted a photo of the piece against the sky, so I tried it too. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a single cloud that day. So the sky was more like my evenly dyed piece rather than the “sky-like” piece 🙂
When I scrunched the fabric second time around, I think I exposed most of the white parts and these got dyed. This drastically reduced the “clouds” in the fabric. Here’s how it looked after the second dip.
I think I prefer more ‘clouds’ in the piece than ‘blue sky’. Next time, I’ll probably stick to one dip or be more aware of how I scrunch my fabric during subsequent dips.
Here are all the finished fabrics. Each is a yard. The lighter ones in the bottom row are bleached cotton muslin and the top row is made from an unbleached dyer’s cotton fabric.