by Sue Stover
For nearly 5,000 years, the Indigo plant has been used as a dye source by cultures all over the world to dye natural fibers and fabrics (cotton, wool, silk, rayon, even wood).
Today, the process of dyeing with Indigo is still “magical.” Imagine dipping any natural fiber piece into a dark dye bath only to have it come out chartreuse green. Then, it turns blue right before your eyes! The Jacquard Indigo Dye Kit dyes over 15 yards of fabric or 15 T-shirts. Since the Indigo dye bath goes a long way you can throw in your faded blue jeans, tie up a couple of T-shirts, socks or fabric yardage and dye a number of projects at one time!
1) Tie, rubber band and clamp the 13" squares into little bundles following the instructions for the various dye resist patterns included in the detailed instruction booklet. Try each pattern at least once and/or make up your own so you can have a nice selection of design samples.
2) Follow the “Quick Start” instructions in the Jacquard Indigo Dye Kit, prepare the pre-reduced indigo dye bath in a 5 gallon bucket, cover and let settle for at least 15 minutes to half an hour). Note: it doesn’t matter if you let the dye bath sit longer before using, it will not lose its potency.
3) Gently immerse the bundles into the Indigo bath making sure the dye liquid saturates the fabric and has a chance to work into the areas around the bindings.
4) Remove the bundles and watch the color change as the dye oxidizes; the pieces turns blue in just a few moments. Set the bundles aside for about 20 minutes to fully oxidize.
5) Remove the resist materials, wash the pieces with Synthrapol or mild liquid detergent by hand or in the washing machine and allow to dry.
6) Tear each 13" square into four 6 1/2" squares (includes 1/4" seam allowance) and iron.
7) Lay the pieces out and play around with placement until you achieve the “look” you want. Take your time on this step. How you juxtaposition different patterns can create a multitude of fascinating and beautiful surface design possibilities
8) Sew the pieces together.
9) Cut some shapes from the contrasting fabric (I used nine pieces) and attach them to the quilt top using fusible bonding.
10) Use your favorite decorative stitch to edge around each piece.
11) Assemble your quilt top, batting and back panel, sew together and quilt.