Tag Archives: indigo

Adam’s back

Yesterday we met up with Adam again and he came back to spend another couple days on the farm.  This morning we harvested my indigo plants in the garden.  Cut them off a few inches above ground.  They will send out new shoots and be ready to harvest a couple more times – depending on weather. 


Indigo dyeing

Next we stripped all the leaves from the stems.  Stems go into compost, leaves into the pot.  After a couple hours of cooking, adding ammonia, cooling, adding dye remover and letting the dye vat sit, we added the yarn and kept the pot at about 120 degrees.  Adam seemed disappointed to see me squeeze the dye from the yarn.

dyed yarn

Just out of the indigo bath

We had talked about indigo being the color of blue jeans.  Adam said, ‘Looks like we picked bad indigo.’

dyed yarn

Indigo coming through

But before I could even get the water squeezed out, the yarn was turning blue.  Once most of the water out, I gave the skein to Adam.

dyed yarn

Give the yarn some air

He swung the yarn in the air.  The oxygen makes the indigo turn blue.  He said it was amazing.  It is one of the coolest things I’ve done in the dyeing arena.  Amazes me every time!  Once dry, they will get a vinegar bath and then dry again. 

In the meantime…


On the mower

the lawn needed mowing.  Adam got right on that job.   Our yard if mostly flat, so it is nice and safe for mowing. 

This is our shearing table.  Every year when we shear, someone remarks that it would be so much easier to sweep off the fiber between alpacas if the table were painted. 


Painting the table

Adam was on the job.  With some paint leftover from when we painted out dining room, the shearing table is now a nice color called ‘Goose Feathers’! 

While the indigo was cooking, was supper was being made and during a few other down times, Adam was back at the ball winder.

winding yarn

Winding yarn

He took 4 of the skeins that he wound last week (and I dyed) into balls. 


Balls of yarn

Now they are ready for me to knit into mittens!  After supper, Adam showed us his album of photos from his trip to Australia.  They are extra special when he tells about each one.  And now, it is time for ice cream!  YUM!


Lacy shawl

Isn’t this lovely?

Indigo Shawl

This is made from 80% alpaca / 20% silk yarn that I dyed with indigo that I grow in my garden.  (No, I didn’t knit it!)  The photo was provided by a customer who bought the yarn last fall at a craft show and has finished this shawl.  ALREADY!   The beauty of shawl is only overshadowed by the speed that she knit it! 

I always love to see the completed projects people make from my yarn.

Week 1 – Midweek update

I dyed!  I couldn’t help it.  Even though there was ice in the little water that pooled on the canvas cover over the hay bunk – somehow, my indigo didn’t freeze.  It wasn’t supposed to get that cold!  I was NOT happy when I saw the ice. 

So I picked one last batch of indigo and did 2 skeins.

The end!

The end!

The one on the left is the remaining skein I dyed with dahlias last year and didn’t get to over-dye because of frost.  It is finally green!  I hung in a window a short piece of yarn that was dyed with dahlias and overdyed with indigo to see how it handled the sun.  I noticed no fading over the several weeks it hung there!  So the indigo has stabilized the dahlia – which fades easily.   Nice to know!

Both are sport wt, 100% alpaca.  They are still partially wet in the picture.  The color will even out and be a bit lighter when completely dry.  Though not on the production schedule, they will be a pretty addition for the upcoming shows.

I did get 8 pair of wristwarmers knit yesterday – took me until 9PM!  But I have not started finishing any of them!  It’s gonna be crunch-time! 

I now have a baby hat with me where ever I go – especially while sitting at my computer.  I can get quite a bit done while waiting for screens to display – that is the ONLY good thing about my slowing dying computer.

Production Schedule

Darryl and I took a dart-board approach to determining how much new inventory I need to create before October 31, my next craft show.  This is what we determined:

wrist warmers – 25 pr (I had 3 pr left and 2 more partially done at the end of farm tour) total of 20

felted soap – 30 bars (I was out, and only 15 un-felted bars on hand)

baby hats – 2 to match each blanket (I had zero left, 5 blankets, and one custom order) total of 11

baby socks – 2 to match each blanket (I had 1 pair left, and one custom order) total of 10 pair

women’s mittens – 5 pair (I have zero), plus 2 custom orders

toddler’s mittens – 5 pair (I have one pair left), 4 to go

cat toys – 20 (I have 5 left), 15 to go

I guessed on time requirement, divided by 4 weeks and came up with over 44 hours per week!   And  I have a few other commitments – like the nearly 3 hours I spend in the barn each day!  Oh, and email, my Etsy shop, cooking, laundry, maybe a shower now and then! 

So I need your help!  On Monday’s I’ll post my schedule for the week and the progress of the previous week. 

Last week’s progress — I had black yarn on hand and knit 5 pr of wrist warmers.   But black is SO hard to see to do the finishing that I can only do it with bright light.  I have 3 pr finished.  The yarn arrived for MANY more pair.

So here is this week’s production schedule:

Monday – off the grid, laundry and dental check up

Tuesday – Knit wrist warmers — goal of 8 pair

Wednesday – Wrist warmers might need to take a back seat to indigo dyeing.  Weather looks to get REALLY cold by the end of the week.  Might be my last chance to use the indigo.   Goal of 8 more wrist warmers?

Thursday – off the grid, volunteer job

Friday – finishing work on wrist warmers

Saturday – dyeing class

Final goal of the week is to have ALL wrist warmers done! 

So help me out, cheer me on.  Check in next week to see my progress.  Knowing you are watching will keep me going!

Indigo Girl

Have I mentioned I love having a ‘chore boy’ on weekends?  When Darryl does the chores, I can do some cool projects.  Like today.

This is my row of indigo in the garden.



And when I had stuffed my strainer full of leaves, I had this:



Yeah – barely made a dent!  I cut most of 3 or 4 plants.  That is all.  I have indigo to share.   And, if there is not a frost soon, those that I trimmed will be grown back.  I tried a new method of dyeing.  Instead of creating a double boiler with a glass jar in a dye pot, I put the indigo leaves in a strainer / steamer and put it directly into the pot of water.   I ended up with 6 quarts of indigo leaf juice in a big dye pot.  Much better for getting an even color across a skein since the pot is much bigger than a gallon jar.  I put in 2 skeins – each 4 oz.  And got this:

Indigo dyed yarn

Indigo dyed yarn

Wow, huh?  This is the darkest blue I’ve  gotten.  On the left is 80% alpaca / 20% silk.  On the right is a little over 4 oz of yarn from Pelasia

Then I found this yarn I dyed last fall with dahlias.  I didn’t get to over-dye it last fall because we got a frost and my indigo froze.  It did fade some over the last year – dahlias are not a good dye source.   When I soaked a skein in water before I dunked it in the indigo pot, more of the yellow color bled out.  It was odd to dye this as the yarn looks a yellow / chartreuse color while in the pot.  It is only when the air hits the yarn, that the blue appears.   So this yellow yarn really didn’t change color much in the pot.  But then I took it out and…..
After - and before

After - and before

On the left is the green that appeared.  I was pretty surprised to see that!  On the right is the other skein I dyed last fall.   But I don’t know what the future will be for this green yarn.   I don’t know if the indigo will have fixed the dahlia color – or if the yellow will continue to fade – causing the green yarn to turn blue.   When I took a dyeing class last winter, I asked the instructor that question and she didn’t know.  Guess time will tell!