July 15, 2009
Today was the season’s first Indigo harvest from my garden. Collection began early this morning, and the dye bath processes ended just before sunset this evening. I have never been more satisfied with a dye color. There is no clearer reflection of sky and sea than the blues of Indigo.
I’ve been waiting for this day since last October, when I first ordered my seeds. I planted my Japanese Indigo in December, indoors. Today was the first day of harvest- July 14th. So it has been some time coming, and it was well worth the patience required. I’ve been building a deep and admiration filled relationship with Japanese Indigo over these many months- through tending, watering, appreciating, and gazing over these lovely plants. It was only today that the relationship was taken to the next level- as I uncovered this most visually delectable natural dye color.
Extracting color included a variety of oxygenating, and de-oxygenating processes. My handspun organic yarn looks yellow in the dye bowl, because it is. Only when I pull the yarn from the vat, does the blue begin to emerge, as it hits the air. I harvested one pound of leaves and stems today, and it was enough to dye 4 oz. of yarn. My Indigo crop is so healthy, I likely have five or six more pounds to harvest before the season’s end.
If you are interested in this process I recommend Rita Buchanon’s book a Dyer’s Garden. If you are interested in purchasing seed for Japanese Indigo, and growing instructions, drop me a comment. If you have an Indigo story, or question I’d love to hear from you. For the utmost beauty in Indigo processing, check out the ricketts Indigo studio