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Fresh indigo leaves, ice and silk!

Indigo dyed silk hanging on the line

I had a great day visiting my indigo plants out on the farm.  That’s right.  I have some indigo plants out at a farm in Brodhead. I am the luckiest person in the world! 

It’s a long story that involves a possible Burning Man Global Arts Grant that was interrupted by the pandemic. N’uff said. I don’t like to dwell on the story because when I tell it, I sound like I’m complaining (because I am) and I don’t like to sound that way. 

ANYHOOO! Today I harvested a bucketful and decided to try out the blender and ice method of dyeing.  

Blender with indigo bits in it

I cheated in a huuuge way in that I measured nothing. I eyeballed it and it seems to have worked out fine so far. 

I took a small bucketful of plants and removed the leaves. Then I filled a blender with ice water and the leaves and blended it all up.  It reminded me of the green drinks I used to try to choke down during a very short and ill advised health food jag. I do love the smell of indigo plants, though.  

Indigo leaf slurry after being blended

Then I strained the liquid into a bucket. I froze the mush that didn’t go through the strainer to play with later.

I put some silk that I had scoured into water and then threw it into the juice.  I don’t know what types of silk I used.  A few months ago I bought a grab bag of silks from Dharma Trading Company to play with. It’s a variety pack of off cuts.  Awesome for experimenting with.

Fresh Indigo dyed silk, dyed using fresh leaves and ice in a blender

Anyhoo, I didn’t stir it around. I wanted a cool looking chaotic pattern and that’s what I got. If I had moved the fabric around more the color would have been more solid. I let the fabric sit in the juice for about 30 minutes.

After I pulled it out I gave it a quick rinse.

 

Fresh Indigo dyed silk, dyed using fresh leaves and ice in a blender

The color is so vibrant, I’m very happy with it. 

Fresh Indigo dyed silk, dyed using fresh leaves and ice in a blender

I really like this one, it’s soft and the pattern looks ethereal to me.

Fresh Indigo dyed silk, dyed using fresh leaves and ice in a blender

You don’t really need to be perfect to dye with indigo plants, you can play and have fun sometimes. 

Sew with Knits! – Leggings

Join me in this beginner class to explore sewing with knit fabric. 
Make your very own pair of leggings.
They are available for sizes xxs – 3xl.
Leggings are the new comfy casual at home or running errands.

Supply List will be sent out 1 week before the class.

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Debbie Maddy is coming to Madison!

Debby Maddy teaching a class in Madison WI

 

Debbie Maddy is coming to town to teach an Indigo and Shibori Intensive!

I’ve been following Debbie Maddy for a while and whenever she posts class photos, I DROOL!  I want to learn those gorgeous and detailed shibori skills!  

So I got this kooky idea: What if I asked real nice and found her an awesome place to teach.  Would she be willing to travel this far north? 

Answer: YES!  She is totally game and The Electric Needle was thrilled to offer their gorgeous dye studio space.  All the parts just came together!

The details are on the Electric Needle’s website.  If you’re interested, please sign up ASAP because this class is going to fill. I’m already signed up!  

Monona Library Mending Day

The Monona Library Mending Day, developed by The Sewing Machine Project will be held on the second Sunday of the month (Sept to May) from 2-4 pm.

Bring in your loved but worn clothes for mending …or get a head start on freshening up your wardrobe with some trim and buttons. It’s free!

Our wonderful volunteers will hem, mend, and patch items for people. Some restrictions apply and mending is done on a first come basis.

Deep Into Indigo Thunderpants Dyeing Class

Class Description:  You deserve fancy undies! Come and make your own beautifully-patterned, blue and white Thunderpants using the fundamentals of Japanese Shibori technique and natural indigo dyeing. No fabric dyeing experience is required for this workshop. Beginners and experienced dyers are welcome.

 

Before you dye your Thunderpants, we’ll practice a bit by dyeing a set of cotton napkins using different shibori patterns we will teach you.

What you get?:

  • Sumptuous al fresco Gluten & Vegetarian sensitive lunch, with time to do some shopping at Z Boutique
  • Workshop kit including 1 set of Thunderpants, Set of 4 cotton napkins, workshop tools, washing instructions & plastic bags to bring home your completed projects
  • Dye instruction and introduction to shibori techniques
  • All necessary tools and dye
  • Chance to dye your own garment or textile item with help

What to Bring:  You may also bring along a shirt or other item of your own to dip dye in the vats. Indigo dye only works with natural fiber textiles, so your item must be made of cotton, linen, rayon, or bamboo to be dyed with indigo. If your item has a small percentage of Lycra or another synthetic fiber, it’s still possible to dye it with indigo.

How to Dress: Come to the workshop, dressed in clothes you don’t mind staining blue!  Optional: Wear a pair of light colored, cotton canvas shoes to the workshop, and turn them blue while you work!

What is Shibori?: “Shibori” means to fold, clamp, stitch or in some way block off fabric to create patterns when the fabric is dyed. We’ll be experimenting with a variety of shibori techniques to make beautiful patterns. These patterns can be simple or as complex depending on the specific technique. Some of the techniques we will try are Itajime (Block resist), Arashi (Pole Wrap resist), and  Kumo (Pleated resist).

What’s So Special About Indigo?: Dyeing with Indigo is like magic!  It’s like no other dye. Indigo, which is derived from a plant, is not water soluble, so to make it work as a dye you need to lower the level of oxygen in the vat and raise the pH. There are many recipes to make the vat conditions work. Typically either through fermentation or with the use of chemicals. Once this is done, the liquid in the vat is not blue. The liquid is yellow or brown, depending on the recipe used. The magic happens when you take your piece out of the vat and open it up; once the oxygen hits it, your piece turns blue right before your eyes!

Quilt Expo: Dipping Into Indigo Dye One Hour Lecture

Indigo dyed fabric samples

Textile Artist Jennifer Falkowski has been teaching indigo dye classes in Wisconsin for almost a decade.

In this talk I will share my enthusiasm for the magic of indigo and its history, from the bronze age to the modern resurgence of slow fashion. I will show samples and indigo quilts.

My lecture will repeat at 4 pm on every day of the Expo.  Sign up early!

Shibori Experience at The Electric Needle

Indigo Dyeing at The Electric Needle

Make some beautifully patterned blue and white fabric using the fundamentals of Japanese Shibori techniques and indigo dyeing.

No fabric dyeing experience is required.

Shibori means to fold, clamp, stitch or in some way block off fabric to create patterns when the fabric is dyed.
We’ll be experimenting with a variety of shibori techniques to make beautiful patterns.

Then, you’ll dye your patterned fabric in an indigo dye vat. Feel free to bring along a tee shirt (natural fibers only) to dip into the vat.

Dress in clothes and shoes that can get stained blue.

o Learn about Indigo chemistry and history
o Experiment with basic Shibori techniques
o Fabric will be provided: 4 fat quarters (approximately 18’ X 22’ pieces) of cotton fabric to learn with
o You’ll get ample time to dye your fabric in an indigo dye vat.

Monona Library Mending Day

The Monona Library Mending Day, developed by The Sewing Machine Project will be held on the second Sunday of the month (Sept to May) from 2-4 pm.

Bring in your loved but worn clothes for mending …or get a head start on freshening up your wardrobe with some trim and buttons. It’s free!

Our wonderful volunteers will hem, mend, and patch items for people. Some restrictions apply and mending is done on a first come basis.

Planner Party!!

Let’s make 2018 Planners together!

I’ve been making my own planners for the last few years and I want to help you make yours. It’s not fully a class but I’ll happily share some techniques I’ve used., if you ask.

I have composition books, washi tape, collage stuff, pretty paper and glue sticks. I’d love to pare down my craft supply hoard a bit. I have too many and too much! Feel free to bring whatever else you want for your planner

***Print Your Own 2018 Calendars – month per page, landscape orientation – this is the one thing that I am not supplying***

Invite anyone you think would enjoy this. RSVP REQUIRED! I have 30 composition books available. There is room for 48 people at The Dream Bank.

Monona Library Mending Day

The Monona Library Mending Day, developed by The Sewing Machine Project will be held on the second Sunday of the month (Sept to May) from 2-4 pm.

Bring in your loved but worn clothes for mending …or get a head start on freshening up your wardrobe with some trim and buttons. It’s free!

Our wonderful volunteers will hem, mend, and patch items for people. Some restrictions apply and mending is done on a first come basis.