Bree’s Blue: To Dye With Indigo

June 22, 2015 in Creating The 18th Century, Living history, Looking Good, Outlander Inspired Knitting Patterns, Uncategorized by M C

If I were honest I’d have to say my Outlander Adventures, with apologies to the writer, Diana Gabaldon, are unencumbered by the scientific method.

Nevertheless, I did make some effort to be “scientific” about this experiment, because I am genuinely curious as to the color of Bree’s dress.  So, with that in mind.. the results:

indigo blue

Remember when I said different wools take dye differently?  This is Icelandic on the left, a wool similar to what Bree would have had available to her, and a merino/angora blend on the right, each group dipped twice in the dye vat.

indigo blue

An incredible amount of blue from one small package.. and this is just the first day..  From left, merino/angora, dipped 2x, merino/mohair, dipped twice, the pale blue is Icelandic, dipped twice, and the dark blue on the end is gray Icelandic, overdyed by dipping twice.



Day two I got desperate.. I only have so much wool to dye and I’m actually running out of wool, not dye.  On the left is merino/angora dipped 10x on the right, merino/mohair, also dipped 10x

From left to right: merino and angora,

From left to right: merino and angora, dipped 10x, merino/mohair, 10x, and the last dark blue isIcelandic, dipped about 15 times before I gave up trying to use up the indigo.

So.. what color was Bree’s dress? Depending on how many times she dipped her wool, and whether or not her wool had some black in it from a black sheep (making a natural gray yarn) her dress would have been anything from a sky blue to the rich dark blue of the right hand wool in the last image.
And now you know what color Bree’s dress was!

If you’d like to try this for yourself, with Tshirts, fabric, or wool, the Jacquard Indigo Tie Dye Kit was terrific. While I didn’t use them, it comes complete with rubber bands and a few other things for tye-dye, and a pair of gloves (which I definitely should have used). The bucket you’ll have to pick up at a hardware store. Between the two you can create historical magic.

Which isn’t a bad way to have an adventure in your back yard.

Want to try another natural dye? I did a Jewelweed pot today. Jewelweed is another dye which might benefit from a mordant, but doesn’t require one. Jewelweed dye goes quickly and produces a beautiful color. Dying with Jewelweed here>>

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