Dyeing and Hand-Weaving with Natural Indigo

My goal was to dye yarn for different projects I havent quite decided on yet. weaving, possibly crochet too. I made skeins of yarn with gradients/obre, blues from light to navy. and some with ikat style white patches.

The first job was to wind the 100%cotton thread into skeins. loose enough for all parts of the yarn to access the indigo in the vat, but organised enough so that they don’t get into a massive massive tangled mess. This is my main struggling point and i would love some advice about keeping yarns or threads in order.

Below I am tying off sections , binding really, so that the thread will have little white sections at random intervals.

I gave the thread up to 8 dips in the vat to get lots of shades of blue. I dyed a little at a time to avoid aforementioned tangle.

tons of thread! yey.

I have started experimenting with some of the threads on my backstrap loom. I want to make some tags for some pouches Ive been working on.

In the two stripy samples above i just used the gradient dyed thread, one single length, to make the stripes. These are weft-faced designs (you cant see the warp threads)

This is a warp-faced test (only the warp threads are visible)

Backstrap weaving equipment

My basic backstrap weaving setup. I like to sit on the floor and I have long legs so its comfortable for me to use like this. I can see that it might not be for most people though. When I’ve facilitated kids and grown-ups workshops in the past I usually use some G-clamps, and you need something really solid to attach them to to get a nice taught tension.

Its also worth being careful about the position of the strap around your back. A large square scarf folded into a triangle and tied to each end of the stick closest to your tummy is the kindest to yourself I think. That way you can spread the load as much as possible. You don’t want anything too narrow digging in in the small of your back. I try to keep the strap low almost round my hips.

I made the wooden square part myself with square wooden sticks, a tiny drill bit and some wood glue. Its not exactly hard to make and it works, however, I found a place called ‘harvest looms’ on etsy and I’ve treated myself to one of theirs. I think it might be easier to use, we’ll see.




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