Interweave’s Indigo Dye Day! What will you make?

Here at Interweave, we decided we needed a day away from our computers to do our favorite thing: make something! We were so inspired by the indigo dyeing trend that we decided to get some indigo and try it ourselves! So we ordered a couple of instant indigo dye kits from Jacquard, read through the articles in Interweave Crochet Summer 2018, and watched a couple of Elizabeth McTear’s instructional videos on arashi and itajime shibori. Now you can get all of those things in the handy Shibori Indigo Dyeing Collection. Read on to see what we made and get some indigo dyeing inspiration.

Sarah’s dip-dyed napkins. CREDIT: Sarah Rothberg

Sarah Rothberg, Knitting Assistant Editor

I’m completely hooked. Indigo dyeing is my new favorite hobby, and I can’t believe how easy and fun this kit made the process. I stuck with something simple and dip-dyed some linen napkins. A set of nice napkins are a purchase I’ve been delaying (in my attempt to slowly furnish my adult-ish apartment) because I couldn’t find any premade napkins that spoke to me. I decided to give it a go at the Interweave Dye Day, and they turned out better than I could have imagined. The photos are taken right out of the dye pot, so they still have a little green in them. I’m happy to say that they turned out solid blue and make a lovely set of gradient napkins.

Marissa’s Indigo-dyed yarn. CREDIT: Sarah Rothberg

Marissa Bouska, Beading Assistant Editor

I decided to dye three skeins of yarn using the dip-dyeing technique outlined in Interweave Crochet Summer 2018. I happened to have three skeins of Sugar Bush Cabot in wheat (a 70% pima cotton, 30% linen blend). I bundled it up into sections in my hand and dipped it into the indigo dye. I only dyed one layer—however, even after washing, the yarn has an awesome gradient effect. I can’t wait to start using it!

Andrea’s apron and tassels. CREDIT: Sarah Rothberg

Andrea Lotz, Social Media Manager

I tried out two different techniques with the indigo dye kit: dip-dyeing and a shibori method similar to itajime. For my shibori apron, I didn’t use clamps to hold my popsicle stick dye resists in place in the conventional itajime style, but I used rubber bands for a similar effect. As trim for the apron, I was inspired by Sara’s blog post on dip-dyeing tassels and dyed a quick fringe.

Susanna Tobias, Crochet Project Editor

Anyone who knows me well will tell you that pink isn’t my favorite color. So, when dye day came around AND I just happened to find a bright pink skirt while thrifting, I knew it was a match made in heaven. Inspired by the Blue-on-Blue dyeing article in Interweave Crochet Summer 2018, I twisted parts of the skirt and rubber banded the twists in place. Then I wrapped the entire eyeball-burning monstrosity around a pipe and rubber banded it down. After dipping it twice, I was satisfied with the color. It’s not fully rinsed yet, but I can’t wait to see the finished result!

Anne Merrow, Editorial Director

I had some very smooth reeled silk and very fine wool yarns that I dipped in the pot twice. I dropped in one ball of wool wound in a cake to see whether it would resist the dye at all, and I tossed the other two in as skeins. (Word to the wise: Tie loosely, but use more ties than you think you need!)

I chose those yarns because I have some naturally dyed shawls that I need to mend. I intend to try some basic visible mending, so I needed yarns that were very fine, and the silk will slide through the fabric beautifully.

Laura’s Itajime Fabric CREDIT: Laura Hulslander

Laura Hulslander, Knitting Project Editor

I dyed linen yardage using the itajime method. First, I folded the fabric accordion-style along the length, then I folded it again widthwise to make a neat square of fabric. I clamped it together between two blocks of wood and dipped it four or five times in the indigo vat. I love how it came out! The folds created a windowpane pattern, and the blocks left an interesting diamond pattern along the border. I’ll be using it to make a caftan. I’m already planning my winter resort wear.

Rachel’s tie-dyed shirt. CREDIT: Rachel Koon

Rachel Koon, Managing Editor

I dyed an old white T-shirt that wasn’t getting much use. I wasn’t going for any particular look or pattern, so I just wadded up the shirt, randomly placed a few rubber bands, and hoped for the best. I was pleasantly surprised by the results! I love the sort of tie-dye effect my random rubber-banding created. I can’t wait to try indigo dyeing again!

Using arashi shibori on a crochet tank! CREDIT: Sarah Rothberg

Sara Dudek, Crochet Editor

I’ve been experimenting with dyeing my crochet projects for a while; that was my inspiration for the indigo dye story in Interweave Crochet Summer 2018! So I couldn’t resist using some white cotton thread to quickly crochet a basic top and trying out the arashi method on my crochet tank. I love the results, and I can’t wait to wear it! I also had a white knit hat I made a while back, so I wrapped some rubber bands around the top and then dip-dyed it!

Hayley used running stitch to create a dye resist. CREDIT: Sarah Rothberg

Hayley Deberard, Interweave Books Editorial Assistant

When I heard we’d be doing a dye day here at Interweave, I knew I wanted to try out some stitched shibori. It has been years since I first got a taste of the ancient craft, but after dusting off some books from my college textiles class, I remembered how fun and approachable it can be. Using swatches of canvas and simple cotton fabric I had lying around, I made a simple running stitch along a pattern I had traced onto the fabric. Then, I pulled the threads tight and tied them together. The result is a dappling of color along the stitched pattern that has been resisted from the dye!

Wearing masks and gloves at the ready! CREDIT: Sarah Rothberg

Tips from the Interweave Team:

• Wear a mask to protect yourself from inhaling indigo particulates, and mix your dye in a well-ventilated area.

• Use spoons and pots for dyeing that you will never use for food (try getting dye supplies at a second-hand store or dollar store).

• It’s normal for your project to come out of the pot bright green. Indigo needs to oxidize, so it will start turning blue within a minute after you remove it from the dye bath and expose it to oxygen.

• A clumpy, foamy surface might appear at the top of the dye pot. This is normal; just use a gloved hand to move it to the side before dipping your project.

• If you want a darker color, dip your project in the dye bath again (and again and again). The more times it goes into the dye bath, then comes out and oxidizes, the darker it will be. It’s not about the amount of time in the dye bath. If in doubt, go darker! Some of the color will wash out.

• Don’t be afraid to just try it! It might not turn out perfectly, but experimenting is half the fun!

Sara’s crochet tank came out of the pot green! (This is totally normal!) CREDIT: Sarah Rothberg

What will you make with the Indigo Shibori Dyeing Collection? Let us know in the comments below!

Happy Dyeing!
-The Interweave Team


Featured Image: Interweave’s first dye day! CREDIT: Sarah Rothberg


Create Your Own Indigo Dye Day!

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