My favorite fabric!
INDIGO BLUE CALICO, my favorite fabric, was printed in Amana from 1861-1917- 450 yards a day in its prime. The mill or "print works" was located on the site of the present Amana Furniture Shop, the smallest brick building to the west being ...part of the original factory that employed 30 workers. Designs were random geometrics, florals, borders, and repeated stripes with about 500 patterns documented. The fabrics were used for summer work clothes, upholstery, curtains, quilts, etc. Calico patterns were printed with hand carved blocks, paste resist rollers, and discharge print blocks. DYES were special indigo plant dyes -when exposed to the air would oxidize and turn yellow-green to indigo. These dyes were not fast in the early days so would often leave residue on pine benches and hands, only to be bleached clean later. The Print Works mill closed in 1917 due to lack of dyes and supplies so the German influenced, indigo CALICO dye art is very rare and much appreciated by collectors. RS