A Watched Pot

Now what in the world could get so many noses stuck in a pot like that?

An indigo dye pot can!

The ladies of Delaware’s Fiberguild had an indigo dye pot session earlier today.  I told you these ladies are serious about their dyeing.  I’m in the Yahoo Group for the Fiberguild and before the meeting, a PDF of the entire process was sent to everyone.  Serious, I’m telling you.

The ladies are looking at “The Bubbler”.

Basically, it’s one of those devices used in fish tanks.  You’ve seen ’em.  It makes bubbles in the indigo pot and it’s fascinating. 🙂

Interestingly enough, even though it will dye fibers blue, the liquid in the pot looks green!

But you can see the indigo is breaking down and the liquid is actually staining the spoon blue. 🙂

Science can be fun! If they taught this in my science classes when I was younger, I would have paid a whole lot more attention  (little subtle hint to the teachers out there, lol).

It was a perfect day to do it.  The sun was bright and in between dyeing, there was some prepping, some knitting and some spinning and some jabbering…

And playing with Maisey. 🙂

But, back to the dye pot…

Carol and Linda are such a great team when it’s time to dye.

Here they are getting the dye pot ready again.  And below, they are using a jar for indigo as well.

Linda dips some fiber into the jar.

And out comes this beautifully, blue, muddy yarn!

I’d almost be ready to use it like that.  But, it does have to get washed.

While Linda rinses, Carol takes all the notes.

This is serious business, I’m telling you. 🙂

Okay.  The pot is ready! Watch this!

Are you watching?

Okay.  Keep your eye on that yarn.

Here it comes back out the pot.

Wait for it…

One minute later.

Two minutes later.

Okay, I lost track of the minutes here…but can you see the yarn?  Keep watching.  This is going to go pretty quick!

Whip, whip, whip.

And then…

Mmmhmm. Delicious, isn’t it? 🙂

As you can see, there were other dye jobs going on with that same pot on various fibers like silk, cotton, handspun and commercial.  They were all glorious!

This one was one of my favorites. 🙂

But, of course, it was just when I thought I had seen the big feature, that Carol pulled another trick out of her dye pot.

This is another dyeing solution. It looked a little like apple cider to me.

Natalie decided to play with it a bit on some of her handspun.

She got a beautiful mellow yellow. 🙂

Then, she put it in there a little longer with some knots for some variation.

Gorgeous right?

The cider-looking stuff is actually called osage orange.  And you won’t believe what else it can do!

Obviously, the name osage orange is a little misleading when dyeing in a sense because it will dye yellow.  But this is an indigo dyeing session.  Do you know where I’m going with this? 😉

See that green?  Osage orange does that! Once the yarn is dyed with the indigo, it can be then overdyed with osage orange to get that brilliant green.  Yellow and blue make green! I know, it’s such a simple art concept, but it’s just so exciting to actually see it work! And lovely, isn’t it?

And it was enough to get Laurel to leave Maisey alone for a while ( 🙂 ) to overdye her shawl.

Presto chango.

That is SO fun!

But then, Linda and Carol went and got slick on us.  Look at these…

This is just overdyed in some areas and not in others.  Very simple concept that is just too cool!

It was about time for me to go when I saw Laurel picking apart some stuff.

She’s getting more indigo ready to be stored for next year’s indigo pot. 🙂

What a fun time!









  1. What fun! And who would have thought to use the fish tank bubbler! I’ve only done indigo dying the old way, and ended up with blue hands. 🙂

    • weekend knitter says:

      It was a lot of fun to watch the yarn change colors like that! I can’t wait to do that again. And I really want to have a few skeins for that osage orange too.

  2. Looks like total fun! Overdyeing is one of my fave things to do 🙂

  3. What fun and thanks for sharing the PDF on indigo – very interesting to read. I’ve yet to try dyeing but some day must give it a go 🙂

    • Hey Tina! It was really fun watching too! It’s a very exacting process the way it was done here. Laurel also des it though and she is more of a wing it and see what we get kind of dyer and she has gotten good results too like in her shawl. But, one tip the ladies did pass along was that, normally any overdyeing occurs over top of the indigo, not the other way around. Meaning, it goes in the indigo pot first, then into another for overdyeing. That way the indigo pot stays pure. Good to know, right? 🙂 I hope you post pics if you try it!

  4. caityrosey says:

    So wait, clueless question here: That indigo color was developing on that wool OUTSIDE the pot? Rad!

  5. Soooooo interesting and yes, exciting to see this process, Stacey!!! Thanks for posting! [note to self: I am not a dyer. I am not a dyer. I just want to try avocado pits, but I am not a dyer. :)]

  6. Marlene Toerien says:

    i am so envious sitting in Pretoria, SA and not a hop and skip away from you

    • weekend knitter says:

      Come to think of it, I am too Marlene. LOL! I should have an indigo skein as well. But, next time, I will be dunking some things in the dye pot too. Still, I may not be able to wait. May have to figure out how to get something done at home. The blues were just gorgeous!

  7. I love using indigo. My indigo dyed yarn is always the first to sell. Great job!

    • There seems to be this aura created around the indigo dyeing process that I have a better understanding of now. And for all the work, the aura is well-deserved. I am not surprised it’s your first to go. The dyed skeins were just glorious! I can’t even think of another word!

      • I think the color it produces is the main reason it sells so quickly but it all is something that is recognizable to people. Everyone has heard of indigo whereas people are not so familiar with madder root etc. If you haven’t dyed with madder root you should try it.

  8. Ooooh, indigo. Definitely one of my favorites. I love the color it made with the osage too. The whole process just looks so fun!

  9. BTW, those seeds I was “processing” are for growing next year’s crop of indigo (Japanese indigo — Polygonum tictorium [yes, I had to look it up]). They *love* sun and wilt to let you know they’re thirsty. If I was able to keep mine alive, then anyone can do it.

    P.S. Now about that Photoshopping you’re supposed to be doing to those pictures of me … :o)

    • That is an interesting factoid! I must be an equivalent of an indigo seed. I want the sun back so badly, I am in denial it is nearly November!

      You do not need photoshop in any way, shape or form. 🙂 And your hair is as red as ever in these photos!


  1. […] …and indigo (you may remember this process)… […]

  2. […] buddy, Laurel, was there dyeing and demoing at the dye pot. Surely you remember our fun with indigo dyeing? Well, here it is […]

  3. […] I know you remember this part. […]

  4. […] you know some gardeners and dyers keep notebooks? It's true. Carol and Linda do (OMG, do they!). Even spinners do. Generally, a good rule of thumb is, if you're serious about […]

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