Dip Into Indigo – Katazome Resist

Starch Resist.  It’s stencil time!  You’ll play with rice resist, to make beautiful patterns dyed with indigo on quilting cotton.

Dress to get messy, including your shoes.
No fabric dyeing experience is required. 

Come and check out the Electric Needle’s dye studio.  It is in the basement so you will need to be able to go
up and down one flight of stairs. If you have restrictions please call the store to schedule a private class.

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

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Shibori and Indigo Dyed Class Samples

arashi shibori samples

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.

arashi shibori samples
Tight on the left and loose on the right. Really it’s the opposite of how things should be: righty tighty, left loosey.  Oops

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!

Arashi shibori samples small

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.

Itajime Star

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.

Katano Shibori

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.

Itajime wrapping cloth

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.


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!

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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Great Class at Mill House Quilts

I taught another just fabulous class at Mill House Quilts last weekend!

Arashi Indigo Dyed Fat Quarter

The students were very interested in trying out new techniques.  Lots had experience with dyeing but not with indigo, which was super cool.

Stitched embroidery fabric

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.

Mandala patterned Fat Quarter

You can still see lots of green in this one.  The indigo is still oxidizing.

It was a chopstick heavy day. They are so lovely!

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.

Here’s the other end of the line

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.  


Club Indigo

If you have ever taken a dye class with me you are welcome to join Club Indigo.

I will open up my indigo vats on the first Sunday of every month in the dye studio at the Electric Needle from 11 am to 3 pm.

This is NOT a class. I will be dyeing but will be happy as always to give you my advice. If you want to work in shibori or batik, you are welcome to, but I can’t help a ton as my hands will be blue. Books, resources and tools will be available.

Bring your own fabric – limited to about 5 yards of fabric a club day. All fabric MUST be made of natural fibers. The Electric Needle is closed on Sunday so there will NOT be availability to purchase fabric on club days.

Pre-registration is required. After you have registered you will receive an email explaining how to join us.

The registration fee includes a minimum of 2 hours of dye time and 1/2 hour for clean up.

Be advised the dye studio is in the basement, you will need to be able to navigate a flight of steps to get to the studio. If this is impossible for you please call so we can arrange a private lesson.

Deep Into Indigo Retreat

Deep Into Indigo Retreat

A creative weekend getaway including: All food, beverages and lodging plus piles of fabric and paper to play with, unlimited access to prepared indigo dye vats, and gifts and prizes all for one low price!

Join a us at a creative indigo dye retreat in Westby, Wisconsin.  Located about two hours from Madison Wisconsin, you’ll be able to shed the grind of your daily life, and immerse yourself in the study and play of dyeing with indigo.

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.

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Dyeing Like Crazy

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 at One 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!!!