Rope-dyed indigo, pt. 1

That didn’t take long. No sooner was the wool-tweed Space Invader wound, woven, and made into peacoats, then work begins again on the centuries-old contraptions of the one-man-mill in north-east London.

Rope dyed indigo, pt. 1    Garments made with the makers of the British Isles

Rope dyed indigo, pt. 1    Garments made with the makers of the British Isles

This time it’s indigo. Not just any indigo: rope-dyed indigo cotton. Word has it rope-dying is the best-possible technique for dying the stuff — giving deeper and better uniformity of colour — and is so-called because the yarn strands are entwined into ropes, dipped and re-dipped over and over in vats of indigo dye. And, due to a fortuitous cosmic alignment, the one-man-mill has several thousand metres of it all ready for winding.

Rope dyed indigo, pt. 1    Garments made with the makers of the British Isles

Rope dyed indigo, pt. 1    Garments made with the makers of the British Isles

Rope dyed indigo, pt. 1    Garments made with the makers of the British Isles
Rope dyed indigo, pt. 1    Garments made with the makers of the British Isles

Three colours have been selected — wefts of dark and mid-indigo, and a warp of “natural ecru” — and will be wound this week. The outcome will be two two-tone shades of cotton. The yarn, supremely soft, will be woven into a loose twill, so rather than being a stiff denim-like fabric, it’ll be, for want of a more bloke-ish description, soft and flowing.

Rope dyed indigo, pt. 1    Garments made with the makers of the British Isles

Rope dyed indigo, pt. 1    Garments made with the makers of the British Isles
Rope dyed indigo, pt. 1    Garments made with the makers of the British Isles
Rope dyed indigo, pt. 1    Garments made with the makers of the British Isles
Rope dyed indigo, pt. 1    Garments made with the makers of the British Isles

As with the Space Invader tweed, exact use of the indigo cloth will be determined once more is known of its quality and characteristics — once the one-man-mill is halfway through weaving, in other words. Until then, watch this space, and the one on Twitter.