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Indigo Day

Poster: Betty & David Eyer <Betty_and_David@compuserve.com>

Greetings to all textile fanatics within driving distance of Caer Mear!

I will be hosting an indigo workshop on the afternoon of Sunday, July 26,
as part of the A&S activities of the College of Yarnvid.   I am the lady
who gave the "Garb Palette" class at the last University.  Since I am shy
about posting my real phone and address on the net, please contact me
privately via email for directions and more  specific information.  I can
provide some crash space, but be prepared to feed yourself.  Potlucks and
cooking on the grill often happen spontaneously at this sort of thing.  I
know that it is close to Pennsic, but it is also the best time of the year
to harvest dyestuff and to work outside, so now is the time!

I will be doing 3 vats, the gods be willing and the creek dont rise. 
First, I am going to start a fermentation vat in the next day or so.  I
will use the madder and bran water recipe since my husband has forbidden
the 'old sig' recipe.  This is a completely period and very Scots method,
but I am using the John Lyles "Appalachian" recipe, since it is in
modernEnglish.  I have never done this one before, so the success of this
is about the same as for one's first batch of beer. Fortunately, we don't
have to taste test the dye vat.

I will be doing a normal hydra-sulphite/spectralyte vat.  The chance of
success of this one is pretty high, since I usuallysucceed with this one if
I have enough patience to really follow the directions, do the pH testing,
etc.  I will also try to harvest all of last year's woad and enough of this
year's to make a viable vat.  I will not start this until Sunday, so you
can see the whole process.   The chance of success with this one is pretty
low - last year I got a very nice but pale blue - maybe I will get better
with practice.  But you can all find out if what they say about the effects
ofwoad on the skin is true by helping me pick leaves off the stalks.

I will drag out all my dye and indigo books so that you can peruse them
while we wait.  Dying is a lot like canning -careful measuring, brief
periods of frantic work, then long periods of waiting around near a hot
steaming pot on a hot summer day, so you might want to bring other
amusements for the slow time.  

I need no financial compensation for the workshop, since I will be doing
this with or without your attendance.  You might want to pitch in a few
quarters or dollars toward propane fuel.  I will not provide anything for
you to take away with you.  Bring your own stuff to put in the pot.  You
can bring small, sample  pieces of cotton , linen, silk or wool fabric;
small skeins of cotton, linen, silk or wool yarn,LOOSELY tied in three or
more places. (Tie dye can be non-intentional)  You can also bring clean
wool fleece o rother  unspun fibers; mesh or net bags are recommended since
you will be sharing the pot with others.  Do not bring anything synthetic,
since the highly alkaline vat tends to dissolve it!  This includes
"washable" wool, which will disentegrate into a messy goo in most dye pots.
 "Ready to dye" or completely natural materials are best.  Silk scarf
blanks are lots of fun and cheap from several suppliers, and the
fermentation vat should be 'cool' enough for batik.  

Whatever you want to bring, prepare it by 'scouring' it first.  First wash
in a mild detergent in warm water. To scour - put it in a pot on the stove
with cold water and dissolved washing soda. Bring slowly to a boil and
reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for up to an hour, longer if you believe it has
been chemicallytreated.  Allow to cool and rinse in regular tap water.  Be
sure if using wool not to change the temperature of the woolquickly or you
could make it brittle.  

Also, if you want to actually do some of this yourself rather than just
watch me, bring your own rubber gloves and wear clothes and shoes that can
stand to have blue spots on them. We will work outside because it is better
ventilated and I dont want blue spots on my kitchen counters.  If it rains,
wewill work under a pavillion or screen tent.

Lady Mavi has requested some time on Saturday to work on other colors, and
I will be glad to work with her and/or with you with a little advance
notice. We will probably do some madder dyeing.    I also have marigolds,
tansy and calendula in the garden if you would like to try them and I have
a good supply of onion skins but could always use some more.   Doing red
and yellow on Saturday gives you the option of overdying on Sunday, so you
couldend up with a wide sampling of colors. If you want to do this, let me
know and we will discuss mordants.

Let me know if  you plan to attend!    Magdalena de Hazebrouck
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