Fresh Leaf Indigo
When I first planted my indigo seedlings I never would have expected there would be more indigo leaves than I could process! The plot is approximately 20'x4'. Most is planted with Persicaria tinctoria, but also includes Hopi sunflower, cosmos, plains coreopsis, and nasturtium.
Next year I plan to dive into fresh leaf indigo processing earlier in the season, because it is very successful on silk! I harvested my first batch of leaves in September for a method detailed by Dogwood Dyer.
Honestly did not weigh how much I harvested, but looked like a little over 1/2 gallon of leaves.
The amount of time it takes to strip the leaves from stalks is insane!
Once harvested, the leaves were run through a food processor, water was added, and the liquid strained through a colander. Fabric was added and massaged for a mere five minutes!
Silk scarves yielded beautiful robin blue hues after five minutes. It didn't dawn until after I had dumped the left over liquid that I should have tried multiple dips. (for next time!)
I am obsessed with velour and velvet. I've seen so many instagram folks dye these fabrics with botanical dyes, and figured I'd give it a go with indigo. WOW, beautiful.
The velour is a silk and rayon blend. This fresh leaf indigo recipe DOES NOT work on cellulose fabrics So since the base is silk, that is what picked up all the dye. The whole thing dried bright green because the fuzzy layer was all rayon and the indigo wasn't oxidizing. Once rinsed this beautiful blue hue was revealed and gives off a metallic sheen because the filaments are still white.
The FINAL successful project I completed with fresh leaf indigo was a fermentation solar dye.
I took a silk scarf laid down a variety of leaves, included redbud, rolled it up, and shoved it in a mason jar.
The mason jar previously held an iron mordant so there was a lot of residue left over. Once the scarf was inserted I poured fresh leaf indigo juice into the jar (left over from the velour dye), sealed it, and left it in a greenhouse for one month.
The results were beautiful and delicate.