I took a 'quick and dirty' workshop on indigo dyeing last weekend. The instructor was John Pitblado. It only lasted about four hours and was quite fun.
I have only used procion dyes. And never indigo. Everyone always speaks in such hushed tones when it comes to indigo. So I figured I might as well check it out. We used freeze dried indigo which does not require the urine of boys under 13 as does the traditional method. John informed us that the urine of pregnant women, diabetics or alcoholics also works well. This freeze dried stuff is good. It does not smell. Thanks goodness. Mixes up well and seemed to stand up to a lot of messy folks.
It is quite amazing how you put something into the dye pot for a couple of minutes, pull it out and it's green but within a few seconds the piece starts turning blue.
I used some big nuts and rubber bands to create patterns on my blanks. We got to dye two pieces of cotton, a silk scarf. You can see the results. I tried for a very light blue on the scarf so I would indeed wear it sometime. I am not a dark blue person. There is not one piece of dark blue clothing in my closet. And when I was in the corporate world I did not own a blue suit
I also dyed some of my silk yarn to see how it came out. It looked beautiful deep indigo blue while drying. I had to wash it since there was lots of excess dye which came off on my hands when it was dry. I couldn't imagine weaving with it - my hands would be permanently blue. I had to wash it twice in the washing machine to get the excess out.
In the end, it was a mottled blue. Actually two shades of blue, since I put one skein in the dye twice as much to get a deeper shade of blue. I am 'using it up' in a little tapestry right now...an indigo llama. I will stick with procion.