Today was a cool fall day but I still got out and made some Shibori and Indigo dyed samples for my upcoming indigo dye classes at The Electric Needle.
Fall is coming again. Dang it. I thought summer would go on and on. For some reason (hope related) I always think summer will never end, not this year. But I was wrong again.
I’ve either sold or quilted many of my arashi samples so I knocked out a few more. I just love arashi shibori. All of these were made by sewing the fabric into a tube that was then put around a PVC pipe and then NOT wrapped with string (ummm…if you’ve never done it before, trust me, that makes more sense when you see the process). I love how organic and watery they look. The wider guys are half yards. One was a tight tube and one was loose, which makes such a dramatic difference!
These skinny dudes are actually called “skinny quarters”. They are 9 inches wide. Each one was sewn into a bias tube and put on a tube. Only one was a tight tube and I’m embarrassed to admit that I can’t remember which is which. They are hanging on the line right now. I’m pretty durn sure that it’s the one with more white.
I also needed some Itajime samples. I met some amazing dye artists last weekend at a Circle of Life Studio event in Eagle River. They were all so inspiring. I followed the lead of Yukako Kadono of Slow Stitch Studio. I moved my blocks around and got these great color changes. I love this picture especially because you can see the green from the color change that indigo goes through on the left side of the star.
I did play a little but with some Katano Shibori. It’s done with a sewing machine and can really look dramatic. I haven’t done this one very much but I really enjoy it and plan to do more.
And finally this big one is a blank from Dharma Trading Company that I wanted to test out. I think this size cloth (about 42 X42) would make awesome wrapping cloths for presents.
I dyed till I ran out of light last night. If you scroll through all the pictures, you can kinda see the progression of the sun going down.
As much as I’m bummed that summer is ending (NOOOOoooooooOOOO!!!), I’m glad to get back into the Electric Needle Studio to teach. We’ve scheduled classes on the first Saturday of every month from October to May (not including January) and it feels like I’m going home again. You can check my events page or just head over to the Electric Needle’s class page to learn more and sign up.
I’ll post more about last weekend in another post. I’m still kinda processing how awesome it was.
The students were very interested in trying out new techniques. Lots had experience with dyeing but not with indigo, which was super cool.
Chopsticks were very popular in this class. It’s funny how different patterns will trend in different classes. But the Mandala is always a popular pattern.
You can still see lots of green in this one. The indigo is still oxidizing.
As I always end up doing there, I tied the lines between two cars.
Fortunately, this student’s car not only had a roof rack, but was also the right color.
And that sky!
It was hot and buggy but everyone left happy. I love teaching classes and try to get to Mill House at least once a year. It’s not easy to travel with indigo but the back of the shop is pretty ideal for indigo: breezy and just shady enough in the afternoon.
I’ve been dyeing like crazy to get ready for my December 3rd Sale at the Aldo Leopold Center in Madison. To be honest, I fear that I made too much. I’m going to bring a bunch of stuff, display one or two of each type of dyed thing and keep some under the tables. But you’re in the know, so ask me to bring out more patterns when you stop by my table.
I had a lot of fun dyeing atOne One Thousand but only shared pictures through Instagram so here are some collaged screen shots
I’ve been lucky enough to dye in all of the publicly available dye studios in town: Blue Bar Quilts, The Electric Needle and – though it not officially a dye studio – One One Thousand. They are all my favorite places to dye. All of them.
So if you are a local dyer, I recommend that you call one up and reserve some time. They are all equally awesome. I was treated to a beautiful sunset when leaving One One Thousand so I’m sharing my blurry picture of it with you. I hope I see you tomorrow!!!
Thanks to Kathy Hattori from Botanical Colors for sharing the chemicals for three different kinds of organic indigo vats at the Deep Into Indigo Retreat. I attended a workshop day in her studio in the spring and I learned so much. She’s really awesome; generous with her expertise, time and supplies.
For starters, you gotta hydrate that indigo before it goes into the vat. The directions often call for shaking it in a jar with water and marbles but a whisk is just easier and works as well.
We made an iron vat, a henna vat and a fructose vat. Like most things I get into, I made lots of really awesome messes and mistakes.
But that didn’t slow us down at all.
Here’s a dip from the iron vat.
To see if the dye is ready, you check under the flower to see if it’s clear and not at all blue-ish.
We put our fabric in stainless steel baskets to keep it from getting stained by the sludge at the bottom. Also, the liquid was hot and we didn’t want to keep our hands in there.
Oops. Here’s my favorite mistake of the weekend. I made a fructose vat. I tripled the recipe but didn’t triple the container size so it made a pretty awesome mess. Like a kid’s volcano experiment but deeply blue!
I scraped it into the vat and it still worked. Just a little unexpected adventure. And, yes, I did give myself a blue mustache.
There was definitely an “Organic Vat Posse” among the participants. I also had some pre-reduced indigo crystals from Dharma Trading Company for people to dye with but these ladies were super into the organic vats.
The whole process of using organic vats is really enticing. It smells way better too.
You can learn more about it on the Botanical Colors website. Like I said, Kathy is very generous with her knowledge and, along with really high quality dye stuff, her website is chock full of tutorials and advice.
Haley Hundt took all of these gorgeous pictures. She did such a fantastic job!!
I made a mighty mess. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I mixed up some rice flour and Gum Arabic, which is also known as sugar glue. It’s made with the sap from the acacia tree. I had tried to make a resist from just Gum Arabic – I swear I read a tutorial for that somewhere – and it didn’t really resist the fabric very well. Here’s the Gum Arabic alone:Nice, but a little too subtle for me. I wanted to make something resist-ier. Hence, the rice flour. I just stirred a little at a time in to my leftover Gum Arabic goo until it was the consistency of glue…I guess. Then I painted it on. I laid the fabric on some wax paper because it bleeds though. It dried really fast, though. I was messy and didn’t really think much about the pattern. It was drippy and messy to work with and, for me, that makes it fun. Here it is after a coupla dips. The resist did get sticky again. I left it to dry for a few days though I think 24 hours should be plenty. We run out of good dye days in Wisconsin pretty early and I had to wait for the weather. I think I dipped it three times. The vat was old so the result is light.Boom! I love the level of resist I got. There are some bonus little drippy bits here and there. My random pattern makes me happy too. I will do this again for sure.
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