3. Dyeing with fermented indigo baths in Portland

Yarn hanks soaked overnight, untwisted, and washed again in water. 

Yarn hanks soaked overnight, untwisted, and washed again in water. 

Slowly lowering the yarn into the fermented indigo vat, careful not to disturb the vat. K

Slowly lowering the yarn into the fermented indigo vat, careful not to disturb the vat. K

Keeping the yarn under the indigo bath, we carefully move the yarn strands to ensure that all sides are coming into contact with the indigo dye. After about 7 minutes (or the equivalent of one Van Morrison song, as Joel puts it), we squeeze the excess dye out while it is still under the liquid, and then bring it out into the air. At first glance, it's a bit turquoise-green. 

Keeping the yarn under the indigo bath, we carefully move the yarn strands to ensure that all sides are coming into contact with the indigo dye. After about 7 minutes (or the equivalent of one Van Morrison song, as Joel puts it), we squeeze the excess dye out while it is still under the liquid, and then bring it out into the air. At first glance, it's a bit turquoise-green. 

A few seconds in the air, and the indigo oxidizes to a deep, rich blue. 

A few seconds in the air, and the indigo oxidizes to a deep, rich blue. 

After hanging it to dry for a few minutes, the yarn goes back into the vat for another wash. And rinse, lather, repeat three to seven times. 

After hanging it to dry for a few minutes, the yarn goes back into the vat for another wash. And rinse, lather, repeat three to seven times. 

Hanging the yarn up overnight. 

Hanging the yarn up overnight. 

Rinsing the yarn three times to wash out the excess dye. The yarn still stays a surprisingly deep hue of blue. Eventually, we'd like to reach a point where the extra washes and rinses wouldn't be necessary. For now, it's a learning process. 

Rinsing the yarn three times to wash out the excess dye. The yarn still stays a surprisingly deep hue of blue. Eventually, we'd like to reach a point where the extra washes and rinses wouldn't be necessary. For now, it's a learning process.