Sunday, October 17, 2010

More about Indigo

I had a great Study Session on Indigos at the AQSG meeting in Bloomington on Friday. We did discuss how to tell a resist from a discharge indigo from the top of the quilt. Kay Triplet, one of the class members, had some very good thoughts...a resist may show a little leaking of color into the design if the edge of the resist print is not as thick as the center portion. The discharge print may show the opposite--a little leaking of discharge (slightly lighter color) outward from the edge of the design--as the discharge paste may 'leak' beyond the edges of the design.

The other hot topic in the Indigo session was how to tell early from late Indigo prints. Sue Reich had a wonderful pieced quilt c. 1837 which was assorted indigos.  Generally I think of early Indigo patterns as being larger and fancier than those seen after the Economic Depression of 1893 when so many mills went out of business, used cheaper greige goods and went to smaller simpler designs.

Sue's quilt confirmed my theory.  Many of the Indigo printed patterns were large and complex although there were several patterns that were tight and neat--i.e. small rings. I did get some time after the Session to really look at the quilt and the Indigos ( Thank you Sue!)  and I also noticed that some of the larger designs were on more coarsely woven grounds.

So some possible clues to early (before the last decade of the 19th century) Indigo prints are resist printing ( discharge is after England), coarsely woven grounds and large complex patterns.

One of the excellent papers presented was "Prussian Blue: Its Development as a Colorant and Use in Textiles" by Anita Loscalzo. I have several sample books with wonderful Prussian Blue examples.

I am working on my daughter's computer today--no scanner and no samples books. The next post will be from home and filled with visuals!


  1. I did go back to my posting of Oct 3 to do a close up on those Indigos. I think you can see the differences between resist and discharge from the top of the Indigo Prints! Margo

  2. What a treat to find so much new to read! I have this blog on my side bar and it hasn't shown an update for three months. I was just coming here today to ask if you were ok. :) Obviously. I'm so happy to see new 'stuff'.
    Thank you for your sharing.

  3. Sharyn I try to post every Sunday. Thanks for checking on me :) Margo

  4. The Content Newton quilt is much earlier than 1837. It is most likely 1st quarter nineteenth century. Content had a buggy accident around 1825 and was left a cripple, unable to use an arm and leg. I am anxious to see the early indigo collection at the Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, England.