This outstanding multi-colored indigo from the Dargate book has been beautifully reproduced by Andover Fabrics using modern technology to capture the colors of this c. 1830 fabrics. The entire line, including both red and black color ways plus coordinates, is coming to a quilt shop near you soon. See the full selection at Dargate.
I am currently working on 2 quilts using my early sample yardages. I should have pictures on the next post.
I was, however, curious about the method used in 1830 to produce such fabric. Classic blue/white indigo designs can be printed by resist. This resist method utilizes a resist paste in the area that is to remain white. The yardage is then dyed in an indigo bath, followed by the removal of the resist. Another run through the indigo dye bath would produce a two blue design.
These were the beginning steps to polychrome indigo prints. The original resist paste and indigo dye both produced white and light blue designs on a dark blue background. The old resists were then removed and new areas covered with another paste. The fabric was dyed yellow, giving three additional colors: yellow, green and black. Finally, a pink and red were overprinted. The final product was a dramatic polychrome indigo featuring white, light blue, dark blue, yellow, green, black, red, pink and brown. Wow!
Technical assistance with this history process graciously provided by the Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising, and Design,
Bide, Ordonez and Welters. University
of Rhode Island