Northeast Fiber Arts Center

Home > Indigo Dip Day

On more or less a quarterly basis, I open up my 32 gallon indigo vats for customers to dip into. You could dip yarn or fabric.

I charge a nominal fee to contribute to the cost of the indigo (it is natural indigo and not cheap), the ferrous sulphate and calcium hydroxide in the vat. To give you an idea of cost, for the first Indigo Dip Day I charged $1.50 to dip 6 charmeuse scarves that have some shibori resist in them; $2 if the fabric is a greedy one or there is no shibori since those suck up more indigo. The price may change over time, as everything else does, but that gives you an idea of how reasonable I make it.

Trust me, this isn't worth my while financially - I do it to offer a nice benefit to customers.

What I require, however, is that customers who did not take the indigo dye workshop here must come to their first Dip Day at a prescribed time so that I can go over the workshop ettiquette and vat rules. Once they have attended the "orientation" once, they don't have to fit into that schedule again-they can come to future Dip Days at their leisure. But there are no exceptions to making the first "orientation" - even if you have dyed elsewhere.

Why is this necessary? Because if there is one thing I've learned in 21 years in business, it's that every dyer, felter, knitter, weaver, store has a different way of doing things. So even if you indigo dyed elsewhere, my vat may be different and I may prefer things to be handled differently so this "orientation" is non-negotiable. I've seen some pretty sloppy indigo dyers use vats in the past - letting lots of drips into the vat causing oxidation. I've seen people want to overdye chemically dyed fabric that they did a poor job setting so the indigo vat - which is a high ph - leaches off the aniline dye and that ruins the indigo vat for others. Just to give you a couple of reasons why I need to go over the ettiquette and also see what you are intending on putting into the vat.

I think this is perfectly reasonable - I am opening up the unsupervised use of my workshop and the use of the vat that I take a substantial amount of time and effort to keep going, to you.

This "orientation" will only take 10 minutes of your time, but because I don't want to be going over the same thing every 15 minutes as dyers walk in the store randomly, I ask that customers who want to dip for the first time come at either 9:30 or 12:30 for the "orientation".

So I offer both a morning and an afternoon time to try to accommodate customers and I refuse to to over it if you come at 11 am!

And I ask that you email me your intentions of joining the Dip Day so I know how many to expect. You can email me at

You can check for future Dip Days on the Events page of the website.

I hope you'll be able to join us for one if you are into indigo dyeing. The ladies who came to the first one had a great time. But if you, like the complete stranger who had never been to my shop before but came in this past Saturday expecting to do her own thing without attending the "orientation" think the rules aren't reasonable, then the Indigo Dip Day is not for you.