Denim is unique in it's singular connection with one colour. The warp yarn (that running the length of the fabric) is traditionally dyed with the blue pigment obtained from indigo dye. Until the introduction of synthetic dyes, at the end of the 19th century, indigo was the most significant natural dye known to mankind, linked with practical fabrics and work clothing. The durability of indigo as a colour and it's darkness of tone made it a good choice, when frequent washing was not possible. In 1870 BASF in Germany, originally suppliers of natural indigo had started the search for a synthetic substitute, in 1894 the process was perfected.
Birgit Lohmann Designboom, 2000
Sarah immerses a madder-red dyed yarn into the indigo pot; after 30 seconds, she will pull it out of the blue dye bath: it will be maroon like the yarn hanging on the right.
We hand dye the yarn that we have spun for us—this is value added farming—and with a good local market in Manhattan to sell our yarn and lamb, we can keep sheep upstate an hour away from the city.
If I were not so fortunate, if I were to sell the wool from my sheep, I might get $3.00 a pound from the corporate agribusiness middlemen who will send it to China to be processed and blended with an acrylic fiber before it comes back to be sold at our local Wal-Mart cheaply, "Always Low Prices, Always."
But there is a cost to those low prices, my penny-wise and poor shoppers, and that cost is the shambles of the current US economy which results from, to name but one example of our debting process, the wars waged in the middle east paid for by money we borrowed from China, whom we'd made wealthy by buying their products, in order to, among other things, build Predator drones armed with Hellfire missiles fired (by a technician looking at a monitor on a base in Arizona) at a suspected Taliban operative in a village in Pakistan that kills women and children in a nearby hut.
We excuse these deaths—in God we trust—as collateral damage which is simply the cost of our flag waving to preserve the American Way as we protect the jobs of the off-shoreing agribusiness middlemen who bought my wool and the corporate interests of Wal-Mart who sell it. "Save Money, Live Better."
It's not just them and it's nothing personal; it's all of us to a lesser or greater extent. We're all clinging to the same life boat. How we spend our money, with whom, is how we vote.
And I am lucky...to know people in New York like Christine (see her comment below) with which to share value.