Spurred on to spin more


Nicole's enthusiasm for spinning is contagious!

Alpaca skeins spun by the farm school kids ready for dyeing.

The magical surface of an indigo-dye vat.

Indigo magic

As I've mentioned before, I volunteer regularly in the junior high classroom at a pre-K through 12th grade Montessori school where the students are learning how to spin, weave, felt, and sew as they learn about math, literature, world history, chemistry, and all the other things you'd expect to learn in a more traditional classroom setting.

The amount of spinning that is flying off their spinning wheels is phenomenal—and recently they've been really motivated to spin because the teacher, Bekah, asked me to set up an indigo-dye vat.

Since it had been a few years since I had made a vat of indigo, I read up on the topic—pulling out my favorite dye books, the pages dog-eared and splashed with colorful dots of dye. I also remembered that the recent issue of Colorways had focused on indigo, so I read through those articles again. Dagmar Klos had written a very informative article highlighting two ways to make an indigo vat—I printed out the two PDFs that were imbedded in the eMag and loaded up my car with my dyeing supplies.

When I got to the classroom and started setting up the dye space, I realized that I was missing one of the necessary supplies for reducing the indigo vat—drat! However, reading through Dagmar's article, I saw that I had what we needed (with a quick trip to the school cafeteria for a small amount of oatmeal) to start a naturally fermenting indigo vat. Sure, it wouldn't be ready for a few days to a couple of weeks (depending on the temperature of the room), but that actually inspired the kids to sit down at their wheels and start spinning more. Once they saw that amazing transformation from green to blue on the wooden spoon as we prepared the vat, they wanted to create more skeins to dye. So, I'll be going back in a couple of weeks to see how our vat is coming along and how many skeins they've spun up in the meantime!

Happy spinning (and dyeing),

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