Why are my hands and needles turning blue?
When working with fiber and yarn dyed with indigo, it is common for the blue color to rub off on one’s hands. This is called crocking and is an inherent, natural part of the process due to how indigo adheres to the fibers. It does not intimate a mistake or poor quality. Your hands turn blue, because although the goods have been washed, it takes pressured contact to release the extra indigo dye. Your handwork is part of the indigo dyeing process.
Can I set indigo using vinegar to avoid crocking?
No, the only way to set indigo is during the dyeing process as done with these goods. Crocking is part of the process. If you prefer less crocking, please use lighter colored indigo-dyed goods.
Will the indigo continue to transfer onto my skin or clothing once I am done knitting?
Probably not. From working closely with indigo dyed materials through the process of making, typically, the excess dye is gone, and the crocking will cease. If you find blue on your hands or clothing, it can be removed with hot water and soap. Take care when using bamboo needles because they may be stained by indigo.
How do I care for my indigo-dyed goods? Wash in cool water. Keep out of direct sunlight.
Indigo-dyeing is similar to bread baking; a beautiful, time intensive process rooted in the use of natural materials, one’s hands, and time. Indigo-dyed materials are a contemporary artifact. Thank you for helping to keep this practice alive.