Last year, I tried a cold vinegar process on some indigofera australis. The result was very pale blue, but just the same, blue, especially on silk and linen. I thought this time I’d stick to silk. I also found a direct dyeing method described online and decided to try it out on my indigofera australis.
My friend and I stripped the leaves from the stems and into the blender they went.
Pretty soon we had finely mushed leaves.
I tried both the vinegar method and the direct dye method with no success to speak of, even after repeated dippings.
Remember that the wool on the right of each sample card has been mordanted with rhubarb leaf, so wasn’t white to begin with.
Well, I thought I had nothing to lose by leaving the leaves and the liquid to sit for a few days and trying again, so I reunited the pulverised leaves and the two dye baths.
I have recently received a Ph meter as a gift, so I aimed for 10.5 and added washing soda in solution until I reached it. The result was a striking yellow.
However… absolutely no blue whatsoever, not even an improvement on samples I thought I might overdye for improved colour.
Time of harvest? User error in the process? The Ph meter isn’t properly calibrated? The thermometer is out of whack (it certainly didn’t agree with the one on the Ph meter, so I knew one of them must be wrong–and I now know it was the thermometer)? I have no idea, honestly. I’ve decided to leave my one Japanese indigo plant to keep for seed…