When you are in the final sunny days of summer, one beautiful way to spend it is to dye everything you own indigo blue.
This chartreuse colored liquid is the indigo dye bath— we used the reputable Jacquard indigo dye kit, available at an internet near you.
When you pour the contents of the kit into the water and stir, an oil slick film covers the top and a bubbly mix (called the flower) forms in the center. You'll want to save this flower on a piece of plastic wrap, just in case you need a taco break like we did. (Also: five points if you can spot the face of our indigo bath gnome).
Now we tie and tie again. Wood blocks are part of the traditional shibori style process, and they created a great variety of results. I also enjoyed tying rubber bands over small points in the fabric to make circles. There are a lot of tutorials and instructions on how to create established patterns, but I had the most fun by the tying patterns that weren't so predictable (also known as: making it up as I went along).
Another joyful aspect of the process is that if the first dip doesn't create the desired effect, you can double and triple dip away until you get what you want.
We dyed cotton, linen, silk, and paper. We dyed old kitchen towels, yards of brand new fabric, ripped into scarves— even overdyeing a pair of jeans. The most satisfying pieces were the redeemed clothes that were next in line to be donated to Goodwill (I'm looking at you, mint green button-up blouse with a stain).
The helpful hints I would recommend for anyone interested in indigo dyeing: wear rubber gloves but expect blue hands to happen— it's inevitable. Work with a group of friends. It is much more fun. Choose to dye on a sunny day— by some magic, it seems to help the process. Lastly, have way more fabric available to dye than you think wise. Because you will dye it all and it's better to have it at the ready than to be rummaging through your dresser with blue hands trying to find some random piece of clothing to dye for your next good idea. Trust.
Olivia Rose Muzzy
Works in progress, works in retrospect.