Blue dye for the spinning ladies !

My next Indigo workshop week end is in Glasgow on the 7/8 September look Here for detail

I love passing on my passion for blue to whoever wants to learn to dye with Indigo. Over the past years I have spent many days teaching numerous participants to Indigo Shibori their cloth, or clothes when we were recycling… A few weeks back I was asked to help the ladies from the Bowland Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers to dye the wool they spin, some of it is very special indeed. I was told they had acquired recently  a blend of bluefaced Leicester, tussah silk and yak. It was made for them as a very unique mix.

Indigo dye is a wonderful and ancient dye it comes from natural source, in fact its source plants with Indigofera tintoria in them and great to use on any fibres but on wool yarn it becomes specially alive. If you have any silk blended in your yarn it gives an extraordinary shine to this already stunning blue shade. The fact is protein fibres always takes natural dyes in a much more powerful way than cotton or linen. You could dye a number of samples in a pot of Indigo in the one bath and end up with a great range of blue shades… the darker being either your silk or wool the lighter probably linen. You should try it.

Bowland (Lancashire) is not just around the corner (actually it is about 163 miles from Glasgow… so not so easy to travel too with a whole car full of blue making stuff… It so happens my husband has a great aunt who was due a visit… So off we went on Friday morning with the boot of my car full to the roof with Vats, hot plates, hangers, Indigo powder and blue spoons, etc… etc. It had to be so very special at this Saturday was the 10th anniversary of the guild. It would have been easy to forget about the anniversary if it was not for the scrumptious home baking the guild ladies had brought… and in some quantity. They are were a very welcoming group and the Hall we were working in was just so typically English and lovely with wooden floor and a courtyard where I set up my two vats to work outdoor…

So on the Saturday morning I arrived a bit early in front of the Gisburn Festival Hall (1 hours in advance actually). and just before 10, ladies and their spinning wheels arrived and the festivities began 🙂

30 ladies each holding a very strange bag … not with a bike but with a spinning wheel … for spinning … and eager to learn all there is to know with Indigo dye.

After a few hiccups related to electricity not arriving in my hot plate… about 12.40 the vat (a stainless steel vat) of Indigo is hot and ready to be used. Hip Hip Hurray… we have truly fantastic Blue Indigo in Good quantity… and more cakes 🙂

And it begins… despite planning for about 5 kgs of dyed wool and a little bit more… I am quite confident we dyed at least twice that… and did some Shibory and dyed items of closing….  There were so many different type of wools… I run regular workshops but usually as I supply the wool/cloth it is all very uniform… but this time it was magical how everything came together… but wool, fleece, cotton, etc… were dyed in some of the 75 litres of Indigo I had prepared.

A little treat for me… all the spinning done bare foot… by the ladies. And the interest they had in my Eco Printing… I was so surprised they wanted to also try… So we have planned to have another session next year for their 11th anniversary..



For me I have decided to join the Glasgow part of the WSD guild… I want a second shot at dyeing wool of all sort…

And My friend Maria Clarke has suggested to me to start preparing the Certificate of Achievement in Natural dyeing  with the Guilds… I might just…


Betty xxx

Published by bettysbeautifullife

I am a Christie's trained artist born in France but living in Glasgow. I work with Eco Techniques like Natural dyes, Eco Printing and Indigo dyeing using recycled material. I learn, teach and share my techniques, I work with communities and travel to Asia

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