I was gifted 5 beautiful Persicaria Tinctoria plants by my new friend Hagar in the North of my country. She has been growing a field of it behind her house, together with Indigofera Tinctoria. It makes me slightly envious to be able to grow such a treasure behind your house and I really miss not having land to experiment on.
My plants are thirsty little things, but with ample water they do grow enthusiastically and it as time to trim them a bit and do some fresh indigo dyeing. Soon they will have seeds and I will be happy to pay it forward.
I have seen several techniques on the web and in books that include either ice or salt. I wanted to go with my instincts and my instincts were correct; you need neither ice nor salt to get a luscious colour.
1-Pick your leaves in the morning while they are still fresh. I went commando and used whole branches.
2-Put them in a blender. (My husband asked if that was ok to use in our kitchen appliances, I told him it was organic, and he could eat it if he wanted and he should really get back to work.)
3-Add some water from the tap to cover. It's blistering hot here so it would be correct to say the water was luke warm, but I am convinced none of it matters.
4-Blitz it up, for about 30 seconds.
5-Pour in a bowl or a pan.
I used a 90cm square 8 mommi silk scarf I have a stash of for experiments like these (I'd rather not use my handwoven for the unknown). Toss in the silk, and start kneading the fabric with a lot of elbow grease, get that green goo all in! By kneading and squeezing you are getting the colour evenly on your fabric. Do it for at least 10 minutes and add another 1 for good measure.
End result should look something like this;
Pro-tip; hang this to dry with all the bits and pieces still on it. Trying to rinse them off will make your sink look like a Tennessee swamp, while you can just let it all hang together and shake it off when it's dry.
Light fastness; still under review, but based on my experience with dried indigo leaves there is not much to worry about.
Ps; if you do not have fresh indigo, use the dried ones and skip the blender. It will give more or less the same colour.
As always; enjoy and show results!