Indigo Itajime: An Ancient Art with a Modern Feel

Indigo itajime by Candy Glendening

About this Quilt

Designed By : Candy Glendening

“Indigo is both a color (deep blue) and a type of natural dye called a “vat dye.” Although you and I may think the term “vat” refers to a big vessel that one puts dye and cloth into—it is actually a term that applies to a specific type of dye, indigo being the best example. Vat dyes are molecules that can’t dissolve in water until they have been “reduced” (a chemical term that refers to the loss of oxygen) in the presence of a base. When this happens, the molecule changes its shape/color and becomes soluble in water. Once soluble, the dye can penetrate fibers, and then when it becomes exposed to oxygen, that molecule changes back to its insoluble form/color, and becomes stuck in the fiber.” –Candy Glendening

Give indigo a try when you download the June/July 2018 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine.


  • Indigo Dye Kit
  • Fat quarters of PFD (prepared-for-dyeing) cotton
  • 5-gallon bucket with lid
  • Container wide and deep enough to easily place clamped fabric bundle (dishpan size or larger)
  • Long stirring stick (a paint stirrer from a hardware store works well)
  • Long gloves
  • Pairs of similar-sized pieces of wood, such as furring strips, garden stakes, or chopsticks
  • Clothespins
  • Small and large bulldog or C-clamps
  • Floor covering if working inside


  • Clothesline
  • Skimming tool, such as a slotted spoon

Pick up your copy of Quilting Arts Magazine June/July 2018 for these instructions and more!