Friday, September 21, 2007

aizome or at last i'm in a roll

Perhaps it is because my friend brought this ai back from Japan. Perhaps because i spoke Japanese to the vat or maybe because after ditching 2 fermentation vats as useless this summer the aizome gods had pity on me. At last i have a functioning vat. It only took me 9 summers, mind you.
The ai in question is synthetic Indian indigo from Tanaka Nao.
There is something that separates adults from kids and that is trying to run a fermentation vat. This indigo was comparatively a cinch to get reduced.

There's also another component. i was following the recipe from a well known natural dyes recipe book and quite frankly it is a royal pain, not to mention error prone to follow a recipe whose quantities are listed in cups, tablespoons, ounces, quarts and fractions of those measures.In every conversion for example from tablespoons to fractions of cups you're dealing with a fudge factor that adds on and as everybody knows, indigo dyeing is rocket science.. Maybe standardizing would have helped.

As a result this year i dumped that book and followed the Lewis and Proctor recipe. It follows through like a cookie recipe. And best of all there's a trouble shooting guide for medicating the vat. That book, in case you are not familiar with it, is gold. i have the'95 revised edition and the information is not dated.
Something else i noted was how crucial temperature is. Apparently hot Spain is not hot enough to keep a vat outside at it's ideal temperature.

Here is yesterday's effort. A bit of cheating here because the yarns are wet, but there's no way they'll turn light blue.Yarns are different kinds of unscoured silk. Contrary to common knowledge they all dyed evenly and the color take up was great.
Today i'm doing some itajime on cotton.

neki desu


  1. This is really interesting. Always wanted to do this but never quite plucked up the courage. Even bought all the relevant ingredients once, still lurking about somewhere but most probably past there sell by date. Funnily enough theres an exhibition that starts Saturday 29th that I hope to go to in Brighton (about 2.5 hours away unfortunately) and its called 'Indigo - a blue to dye for'. Should be pretty good. Link here:

  2. i am so excited. indigo. any kind. i get very excited.


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