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Fresh indigo leaves, ice and silk!

Indigo dyed silk hanging on the line

I had a great day visiting my indigo plants out on the farm.  That’s right.  I have some indigo plants out at a farm in Brodhead. I am the luckiest person in the world! 

It’s a long story that involves a possible Burning Man Global Arts Grant that was interrupted by the pandemic. N’uff said. I don’t like to dwell on the story because when I tell it, I sound like I’m complaining (because I am) and I don’t like to sound that way. 

ANYHOOO! Today I harvested a bucketful and decided to try out the blender and ice method of dyeing.  

Blender with indigo bits in it

I cheated in a huuuge way in that I measured nothing. I eyeballed it and it seems to have worked out fine so far. 

I took a small bucketful of plants and removed the leaves. Then I filled a blender with ice water and the leaves and blended it all up.  It reminded me of the green drinks I used to try to choke down during a very short and ill advised health food jag. I do love the smell of indigo plants, though.  

Indigo leaf slurry after being blended

Then I strained the liquid into a bucket. I froze the mush that didn’t go through the strainer to play with later.

I put some silk that I had scoured into water and then threw it into the juice.  I don’t know what types of silk I used.  A few months ago I bought a grab bag of silks from Dharma Trading Company to play with. It’s a variety pack of off cuts.  Awesome for experimenting with.

Fresh Indigo dyed silk, dyed using fresh leaves and ice in a blender

Anyhoo, I didn’t stir it around. I wanted a cool looking chaotic pattern and that’s what I got. If I had moved the fabric around more the color would have been more solid. I let the fabric sit in the juice for about 30 minutes.

After I pulled it out I gave it a quick rinse.


Fresh Indigo dyed silk, dyed using fresh leaves and ice in a blender

The color is so vibrant, I’m very happy with it. 

Fresh Indigo dyed silk, dyed using fresh leaves and ice in a blender

I really like this one, it’s soft and the pattern looks ethereal to me.

Fresh Indigo dyed silk, dyed using fresh leaves and ice in a blender

You don’t really need to be perfect to dye with indigo plants, you can play and have fun sometimes. 

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It’s awesome. Oops.

First, the results of the avocado dyed pieces.


On the right, a dish towel that was in the dye bath for 24 hours.  On the left. a cotton napkin that was in for 48 hours.  The color  on the napkin is darker but also very uneven and I am not thrilled with it.  You can kind of see the darker part along the top.  And the silk scarf, up above them both, was in until the water got nasty – maybe three days-ish.  It’s “meh”.  But it was when I bought it, too.  I just wanted to play with silk.  I have a pile of avocado skins and pits growing in my freezer because, although it’s very light, the pink is really lovely on the 24 hour piece.  I want to do more!


In the meantime, this quilt needs a backing.  I decided to go all linen for this quilt.  I’ve never done that before but I can just imagine how delightful it would feel to be wrapped up in it.  I  thought it would be fun to piece the back, too.  Another first.  Big beige pieces, though, because I want the blue side to be the star.


I really screwed up on this one.  Because crazy piecing fabric together is one of my favorite things to do, it’s neither made of large pieces nor less interesting than the blue side.


It’s awesome.  Oops.


I had to force myself to keep these big and plain.


It goes way faster but is it worth it?  The next challenge will be to find a way to enjoy sewing them all up and not going overboard.