Natural Indigo Vat with Sukumo

We are going to try and make a note of our natural indigo vat here for future reference. We are using Sukumo, which is the traditional Japanese way. It is fermented indigo leaf compost, which we bought from a place in Tokushima.

For a 40l vat
・’Sukumo’ (indigo leaf compost) 4kg
・Ash water (poured boiling water over a pile of ash repeatedly to achieve water of various ph)
・wheat bran (‘Fusuma’) 150cc
・Lime powder 65g


  1. Put the sukumo in a large vat and break it apart with fingertips. It is very clumped together, this step is important.すくも
  2. about 4.5 litres of PH12 ash water , mix well and leave for a couple of hours. The steam smells powerful!すくも
  3. 20litres ————at about 40 degrees C.
  4. 150ml of wheat bran
  5. 65g lime
  6. it became about PH10.5


DAY 2 –  2018/07/03

mix with a big stick every day



DAY 3 –  2018/07/04

Added 50g of lime powder.
It became Ph9.4. It didn’tt get higher than I thought.
After 3 hours, I could see thin film on surface.
I dyed with tissue for test, tissue was dyed light blue.


DAY 4 – 2018/07/05
I could see proper film on surface of vat.

The dye is getting stronger (left and right 1 day apart)


I added 4 liiter of Aku water (Ash water PH11.5).
PH went up to ph10.75.


Day5 2017/07/06

Mx vat. ph10.00.
Ph went down a lot from yesterday.


Day6 2017/07/07

Mix vat. ph9.80。
Test dye showed darker blue than before.


Day7 2017/07/08

Added 13 litter of Aku water.
PH went up to 10.74.
Probably we can start dying in a couple of days.


Day8 2017/07/09

Mix vat. Ph10.3.
Test dye was good.


Day9 2017/07/10

Mix vat. ph10.18


Day11 2017/07/12

first proper dye session!

The colour is pretty strong – we try to make some gradients.
ph was gradually going down so I put 20g of lime powder and 100ml of wheat bran.


and attempt ‘hotaru’ (firefly) shibori

And first ever attempt at dyeing yarn. I clearly have no idea how to do it without getting tangled.




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