|Indigo plant -- a member of the pea family|
This late SQI is supposed to be about indigo, which is a deep blue/navy color that has been around since before the Europeans discovered the New World. The indigo plant has over 750 species and can be found in the subtropic and tropics of the world. The oldest known use of indigo is from Peru, but the Crusaders brought the dye to Europe as one of the spices bought and sold during that time.
Producing natural indigo is both expensive and time-consuming, so in the 1880's Adolf von Baeyer determined a way to make a synthetic indigo that is faster and cheaper. However, like so many other synthetic products, the byproducts of synthetic indigo are hazardous to the earth. Nevertheless, jeans and other items which use this synthetic dye are popular and used widely.
Did you know that denim (no matter what color blue it is dyed) produces such waste products as formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide and other hazardous chemicals? Not only are these chemicals used and produced during the making of the dye, they are also produced when the fabric is dyed and when it is finished (washed and rinsed for human use).
The majority of information for this article came from here.
I don't know about you, but I'm truly surprised by this information. I honestly thought I'd find that farmers are raising indigo plants and those plants are processed for use in fabric.
Regardless of how indigo is made or used, there are bound to be some beautiful quilts already made using this rich color.
Here's hoping that you learned something about this beautiful color and also that you are inspired to create using it as well. It's been a favorite color of mine since I read about it in third or fourth grade in a book that told a story based on history or biography and illustrated both the story and the meaning of uncommon words. I'd love to find that book today. It was my first historical fiction and likely the one that hooked me on reading.