Please Note: Westlake Knits is not accepting orders at this time.

Journal — natural dyeing RSS

Experiments in Natural Dyeing: Fresh Indigo (Polygonum tinctorium)

I've done a fair bit of indigo dyeing using the powdered, pre-reduced indigo and have always found it completely magical, and pretty simple to achieve beautiful results. This year, I asked my friends Glynis and Fraser of Aldergrove Farm to grow some fresh indigo for me, so I could try to take the process all the way back to the source (as well as use certified organic indigo). So, in late September, I picked up a big ol' bag of Japanese Indigo (Polygonum tinctorium) from them at the farmer's market and set to work. Below, I'll share the method I used to extract the indigo and make a dye vat, as well as several stumbling blocks I experienced along the...

Continue reading

Experiments in Natural Dyeing with Lichen

I was so lucky to be able to go to my friend's beautiful family cabin on Georgian Bay a couple of weeks ago, and while I was there I got the chance to do a little lichen collecting for a natural dyeing experiment. From what I can tell with my limited lichen identification skills, I gathered some each of Sunburst Lichen (Xanthoria elegans; the orange one), Hammered Shield Lichen (Parmelia sulcata; flat blue-green), and Reindeer Lichen (Cladonia rangiferina). I'm trying both the ammonia method (a 3 month long steep in ammonia and water, shaking the jar daily) and the boiling water method (it's as simple as it sounds) to extract the colour. The boiling water method is much quicker, but...

Continue reading