Natural Dyes – On to a Brighter Blue

I love Blue. I love Indigo Blue. I am sooo a blue jean girl. But my indigos always seemed to stop at the more faded indigo blue that had a dusky tone to it – like I get in slightly worn blue jeans –

– not that great deep blue that you get in the dark blue unwashed blue jeans. I tried doing more dips for longer periods of time in the indigo dye baths but still, after rinsing, I got the same tone of blue in my yarns.

So I experimented.

Typically when dyeing with indigo (see my post of June 13, 2012 in my companion blog “A Polish Granddaughter”) you let the yarn drip/aerate for 20 minutes after each dip. After you have completed the dyeing process you place the yarn in a vinegar rinse to return the yarn to a neutral pH.  So I started wondering what would happen if I pushed it to a neutral pH sooner?  Could I stop the process at a point where I would not lose the deeper blues I was getting out of the pot?

So I filled a container with 50/50 water and vinegar and took a couple of skeins I had been dyeing in the indigo pot, allowed them to aerate just long enough to turn the dark blue I was looking for and then put them in the container with the water and vinegar, completely submerging the yarn.  I left them there for a few minutes while the yarn cooled and then hung them to dry on the rack outside.

You can see that the blue kept its deep dark tones – going almost to a dark royal blue.  It is sooo cool!!

Unfortunately I can’t show you the finished skeins because they sold before I got a chance to photograph them after rinsing and re-skeining!!  They did not lose color during the rinsing.  I am hooked!!  Here is a shot of two more skeins that were dyed using this process.  I love it.

Try it if you are doing indigo dyeing.  I would love to know if you had the same result as I did.  Now I can’t wait until the spring when I can start the indigo pots back up (as you NEED ventilation when indigo dyeing which Northeastern winters don’t always allow) to get some more of these brilliant deep blues. 

Happy dyeing!!

Advertisements

Making Escape A Viable Venture

Escape to Evermore is finally trying to establish itself as a business – which might even one day support itself.  😀  Like any new venture, start-up costs WAAAAAAAAY outweigh any possible profit so you do it for love – not money.  Our first joint show certainly established that!!.

Chip and I did a joint booth at the New York Faerie Festival at the end of June.

We did a joint booth because he has been so successful on Etsy that his show stock was low and we were not sure it would fill his booth space.  Plus Chip likes to set up outside of the booth, and we had to have something inside, so we set up the Escape to Evermore sale racks along one side of the booth to fill it out.

Arguably my yarns fit in well at a Faerie Fest as I feel confident that fairies would dye their yarns with plants and flowers and woods and bugs.  However, in 90+ degree heat, not many folks were thinking woolen anything!!  So I sold one skein all weekend.  Sigh.

However, I was able to meet two wonderful women who were also dyers for Sanguine Gryphon – which is my very favorite commercial yarn company – and we had some wonderful chats about natural dyeing.  They both recognized my bases as being the same ones that Sanguine Gryphon used (as I was buying up all that I could afford when Sanguine closed shop last year) and our connection was made!!  Trinket (one of the dyers who was working as one of the fairies in the wooded grove) was also an animal rescuer who had just paid $4,000 for emergency surgery for a rescue kitty – Luna.  She was thinking of doing a yarn raffle on Ravelry to try to raise the money to cover this surgery.  Escape donated a skein of yarn to the cause.

Watch for this on Ravelry and donate to the raffle – or to Luna – if you find it.  I think that notice of the raffle will appear in the Cephalopod Yarns group.

Having realized that yarn may not be a big seller at hot summer outdoor festivals, I returned from Faerie Fest ready to get the Etsy shop up and running.  I had finally found a banner shot from pictures I took while dyeing yarn in the back yard.

Yeah, I know.  You are all so impressed with how professionally done my dyeing is.  😀  But on a typical dye day, yarn is just moving from pot to pot and soaking up colors until I get what I want.

I put up one skein of yarn before I went to Faerie Fest, just to get the process started. I did not add more because I did not know what would sell at Faerie Fest.  (Notably, the one skein that sold was the same as the one I posted on Etsy).  Here it is.

I was amazed to find out that it was picked up almost immediately for inclusion in a Treasury on Etsy titled “Mood Indigo”.  Wow!!  It immediately brought my shop to the attention of other Etsy folks so I am really grateful to naturametalum for including me in her treasury.

I have been adding 4-5 yarns a day to the Etsy shop and it now has 34 skeins listed – with about 50 more to come.  You can see them at www.etsy.com/shop/escapetoevermore

I was surprised to see what gets the most views and the most favorites.

Alot of people seem to like the greys.

The Indigo Ombre is also popular. . . .

as is the purple logwood ombre.

What surprised me the most was that the yarn with the second most views and the third most favorites probably has the worst overall main picture.

I just did not take a great picture of this yarn to show the color so I went with this – and it is drawing a lot of views.

So the positive is that 17 folks have listed my shop as one of their favorite shops and 61 of my listings have been favorited by folks.  That is all good.  There have been more than 300 views of my shop and listings.  No sales yet but I am hopeful.

If you get a chance, stop by the shop.  Take a look and let me know how you think I am doing.  I need feedback on what you think works and what doesn’t work.  My mom hated that picture of the loose stringy madder root yarn above – but it drew the most views after the indigo that was in the treasury – so as a sales picture, it must be effective.  Who knew?

Onward and Upward!