fresh_eyes fresh_eyes
Hi -- I love your indigo dye kit, and used it happily two weeks ago, getting some nice deep colors. Afterward I washed all the fabrics thoroughly. Today I noticed that several of the fabrics have faded pretty severely where they're folded, and they're not stored in bright sunlight. This seems to only be happening on 100% cottons; so far, linen and linen/cotton blends are holding their color. I had big plans to do more dyeing, but now I'm hesitant. Help!! :0)
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[Deleted User] [Deleted User]
Hi Fresh,

...this is a new one on me! The fabric is fading on the exposed, top side? No direct sunlight exposure?...I think I'm going to have to put my head together with a couple of the other folks here as nothing comes to mind that might be causing this.
We'll get it figured out, though!

annette
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fresh_eyes fresh_eyes
Yes, that's exactly what's happening.
Thanks in advance for your help!!
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[Deleted User] [Deleted User]
oookay...I will talk with the chemist on Monday...

annette
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[Deleted User] [Deleted User]
Okay, so my conversation with the chemist raised some additional questions.
First, how was the 'flower' on your vat? Did you get a nice thick flower or was it thinner? More like this: http://www.sweetgeorgiayarns.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/aizenkobo2008_dsc_0173.jpg or more like this:http://www.dreamygoatdesign.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/IMG_3782.12683910_large.JPG
Also, have you checked for wash fastness in either of the fibers? And is the cotton a much lighter weight than the linen/cotton fabric. Last, but not least, did you dye the cotton first or the linen/cotton fabric first?
....we'll get there!
annette
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fresh_eyes fresh_eyes
Thanks so much for getting back to me. To answer your questions, the flower was thinner, more like the second photos. I have not checked for wash fastness -- I'll go ahead and wash pieces of each fabric and see how they do. One of the cottons that's faded was quite thin, but another was comparable in weight to the linens. And I don't remember the exact order I dyed them in, thought I'm sure one of the cottons (the thin one) was very early on.

Also maybe relevant, I did multiple dips on each piece but found that things didn't really get any darker on subsequent dips (but they were fairly dark after one dip).

I had one thought I wanted to bounce off you guys. The conditions here are very humid -- could that possibly be a factor? The parts of the fabric that are exposed to light are also exposed to more air. Could the Thiox be somehow re-activated by the humidity in the air? The faded sections are a bright blue/green, similar to the color when the dye is part way through the oxidation process, if that makes sense.
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[Deleted User] [Deleted User]
oooohhhh, the blue/green color is telling us something - i think...It seems unlikely that the Thiox could be the culprit - but the green in the color is telling, and baffling. I'm back to the lab - will get back to you later today.

annette
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[Deleted User] [Deleted User]
okay! Sorry for the delay, but I did have a good conversation with the chemist and we both recalled a situation from a couple of years ago when one of our long time clients was having the same problem, should have remembered this right away because it was a BIG deal.
This customer is a teacher who had been using our Indigo very successfully for a number of years in her workshops - she called us panicked - her students were calling to report that the beautiful pieces they'd made during workshop were fading! After much back and forth - having her send samples of the fabric to us dyed and undyed - we discovered that the fabric she was using was a very nice cotton/polyester blend (the company she purchased from labeled it 100% cotton).
As the chemist and I discussed your situation this is the only possibility that makes any sense.
...any possibility this is what is going on with your fabric?

annette
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lauralee lauralee
Hi, I too am trying to figure out the lightening on the fold.
My tests have proven the indigo fabrics to be totally lightfast sitting in broad sunlight for months on my dashboard, so it is not a lightfastness issue.
I have the yellowing/lightening on linen, on cotton, on silk. The yellowing is in the white parts of the shibori folded fabrics, the lightening on the indigo portions.
I have it on fabric from the first dips from my vat, from subsequent dippings later in the vat, from a re-fed vat, from my 5 gallon vat, from my 35 gallon vat, from a well-tended ph-read vat 3 months into its career...
I've kept the fabrics in very non-direct ambient light, I've kept them, from the start, in a folded-shut pillowcase.
I've used Dharma Dye Fixative as a soak after washing out the indigo dye chemistry, to prevent the crocking, and it happens on those also. (ps, that fixative does a good job against crocking).
This is just a mystery, and I'm hoping to find an answer as well, since our customers here at Dharma are wondering.
It does occur to me that the indigo dyers dyeing kimono fabrics in Japan sell these fabrics rolled, not folded, but while this may be a smart way to prevent the fold-line "bleaching", I cannot assume their indigos would "bleach" if folded.
I have a fabric indigo-dyed in Africa which I have owned and kept folded for years, and this has not been an occurance with it.
Can it be the thiox in fact? I love the special effects that it provides in the form of halos around the indigo when I tie my fabrics, especially if I'm dyeing something already colored by fiber reactive procion mx dyes.
I've also noted, by the way, that indigo-thiox-soda ash dye vat "eats" reds previously dyed into fabric with the procion mx dye.
This list of observances is added to the discussion to hopefully help with figuring this out, I'd so love to have a solution.
Apparently some are suggesting soaking the indigo dyed fabric in hydrogen peroxide, however our customer who shared that with me, who then tried it, said it worked for a short time to eliminate the "bleaching" but that it returned shortly thereafter.
Well, I have always maintained that I am "dyeing for adventure", so I will find a way to enjoy it anyhow, but hopefully this can add to the information your chemist is drawing from.
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[Deleted User] [Deleted User]
Lauralee,

Thanks so much for your input! I, in response to fresh-eye's questions pulled some of my indgo pieces out, a variety of cottons, rayons and cotton blends and found no (noticeable to me) fading and most of the pieces are several years old.
The chemist and I talked about the thiox being the issue and the only thing that came to mind in the discussion was the possibility that the thiox was less than perfect resulting in an incomplete reduction. While there is a possibility of that being the issue the chemist couldn't figure out how it would be so.

again,
thanks for your input!
annette
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fresh_eyes fresh_eyes
Thanks so much for chiming in, Lauralee -- I was feeling like I was the only person in the world to have this experience! Just a quick question -- are you having the lightening in *all* the fabrics dyed in the various vats you describe, or just some?

Annette, It looks like I spoke too soon about which fabrics are lightening -- now I'm seeing it on the linen and linen/cotton as well, just not as much. These are all recycled fabrics, so it's definitely possible that some have some hidden synthetic content, but it seems unlikely that they all do (5 different fabrics, and all were labeled natural fibers). I scoured them all well, and they were all originally white or natural colors, but is it possibly a reaction with some previous treatment or dye? Thanks again for your help on this, and I do hope we can get it figured out.
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lauralee lauralee
Oh my, now I have to go back through my collection and see if any of my fabrics did NOT create lightening. None of mine are recycled, they are all straight off the cutting table at Dharma so they are not laundered in any detergents that would leave residues, were never before dyed.

I'm thinking I see no lightening on the hemp-cotton blend t-shirt I made from scratch, but I previously dyed that in fiber reactive dye (that's the red that looked pink so I thought I'd overdye with indigo to make purple - but it destroyed the pinks and left only the yellow portion of the red to make greens and browns to augment the indigo.)
I'll look at my stash and report back on Monday!

Annette, the lightening that we are reporting is not subtle enough to have to hunt for, it would be easily noticable if your fabrics have it. I'm going to put some effort this summer to trying different recipes - different proportions of indigo to thiox, to see if there is a variable there I can predict. I've seen so many variations on that relationship that I cannot eliminate the thiox element.

Annette, besides looking at the green in the vat, is there a method you can recommend for measuring when the thiox is most effective and when its "working" but not optimal? It is easy to tell with the soda ash, I just use the ph paper, but how about thiox? Even my brand new vat with its radiator-fluid-green is resulting in the lightening.
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[Deleted User] [Deleted User]
With this additional information I think I'm gong to have to set up a couple of vats.
I'm going to have to check in with the chemist to ask about a way to test for viability with the thiox - I do know if the thiox is yellow or yellowish in its dry form that I can't expect much if anything from it, but off the top of my head don't know a way to test once in solution.
Lauralee, are you using the Indigo Kits or making your vats from 'scratch'?
Fresh, glad Lauralee could validate your experience - I know it must be frustrating and am glad she has entered the conversation. As for the fabrics - I suspect, as you do, that it is unlikely that ALL your fabrics have a hidden synthetic content.

We will preserver!!

annette
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[Deleted User] [Deleted User]
p.s.
Lauarlee, are you at the main Dharma facility?

annette
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fresh_eyes fresh_eyes
I so appreciate your work on this, Annette and Lauralee. FYI I'm headed out of town for a bit so I won't be posting, but I'll get back to this thread when I return.
Best,
Fresh
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