Archive for August, 2013

Organic indigo vats

August 15, 2013

In anticipation of the class I am teaching at Taos Wool Festival this year, I decided to get start some organic indigo vats.  I used Garcia’s 1-2-3 recipe more or less.  Some of the materials were hard to measure like that.

The first vat was an aloe vat.  I ground up some aloe leaves, added indigo and lime.  The ph was around 12.3 on my ph meter.  This was the one that was hard to measure.  The results are below.  It looks weak to me so I will add some more aloe to see if that helps the pot.


001 002  003008

The second vat I used green tea.  As it is an antioxidant, I thought it might work.  Not really.  The ph is high enough but the indigo was clumped at the bottom.

006 005 004

I have added some fructose to this vat to see if that will revive it.



Alum acetate vs Potassium Alum sulfate + soda ash

August 10, 2013

This is an experiment with a yarn that is pearl tencel. As it is considered more of a cellulose yarn, I used two different cellulose mordants. The first was alum acetate. The recipe is from maiwa’s www site, The second recipe was 12% potassium alum sulfate and 15% soda ash. The latter recipe is derived from Liles. Both skeins were soaked in tannin. The soda ash skeins were darker after the mordant step. The soda ash must have interacted with the gall nuts. One set of skeins was dyeing in madder. The other set was dyed in q black. In both cases, the skeins dyes unevenly. The skeins mordanted with alum acetate dyed darker. The hand of the skeins is a little stiff, the washing soda skeins are a little better than the alum acetate as far as hand but they are more uneven in terms of color.

The reason for the two mordant choices is that in the past, I have had problems with the hand on a wool tencel blend with the alum acetate. A friend of mine experimented with other recipes and found the soda ash recipe improves the hand.


The darker skein is the one that was mordanted with soda ash


In this photo, the skein on the left is the alum acetate. The Indigo skein is for comparison.