Indigo Project Complete (Almost)

Project Complete

Finally, all the dyeing (for the items I had) is done for the ‘big project’. The picture shows them still wet and they took over 2 days to dry. Fortunately, I had a nice large plastic cover to protect them from my feathery visitors. Now they just need to be untied and let rest for several days before their first washing. I’ll try to remember to take a few pictures to share the results. They can then join the others, already done, for their final wash and pressing (groan – I know there are those who think ironing is a great way to get instant gratification but I’m not one of them). Anyway, I now look forward to working on my personal projects; shibori and indigo dyeing is included.

Natural Dye Experiments

Haven’t had much time to do any eco printing recently but still had the need to do ‘something’. While reorganizing my studio spaces after the new flooring, I came across some botanicals I had stashed for a play day. I had a lot of acorns and a pile of avocado pits (I had to take out of my freezer to make room for food. Can you imagine!). I also had a stash of pomegranate rinds.

I had purchased some linen and used aluminum acetate as a mordant. The first things I ‘cooked up’ were the pomegranate rinds. They were covered with water and simmered for an hour or so. I got a nice brown solution. I ripped off a piece of the linen and simmered it in half of my pomegranate solution. After an hour of simmering I let the fabric sit in the pot for a day. After drying the fabric sat for a few days before washing.

pomegranate feb 2017

Pomegranate

I read that tumeric will become a bit more lightfast when combined with pomegranate. So I added some tumeric to the rest of my pomegranate solution. The fabric simmered for an hour, sat in the solution for a day, was dried and allowed to sit for a few days before washing. To test the lightfastness, I have torn off a strip of fabric from the sample. Half of the strip is laying on a north facing windowsill. The other half of the strip is in a dark drawer. Will check them in about 3 months.

acorn/tumeric-pomegranate feb 2017

Acorn-Tumeric w/Pomegranate

To the left of the tumeric fabric, in the above photo, is the fabric I dyed with acorns. I had 2 gallon sized zipper bags full. I put all of them in a pot, covered them with water and simmered until I had a beautiful dark brown solution. Using a third of the solution I simmered a piece of linen for about an hour. I let it dry and sit for a couple of days before I washed it. I don’t think the photo shows what a wonderful golden brown the fabric became.

avocado pits/acorn feb 2017

Avocado Pits-Acorn

In the photo above, to the left of the acorn fabric, is the fabric dyed with avocado pits. I had about 50 avocado pits which had started to develop a nice mold. I covered these with water and simmered them for about an hour or two. I used about one third of the resulting solution to dye this piece of fabric. This fabric was also allowed to rest after drying for a couple of days before washing.

In all the examples, the plant material was processed in a stainless steel pot. The solution was obtained after straining off the plant material. All the solutions used were diluted with water to allow for the fabric to move freely in the dye bath. The fabric was also processed in a stainless steel pot.

avocado/acorn/tumeric/pomegranate feb 2017

Avocado Pits-Acorn-Tumeric w/Pomegranate
Pomegranate

I think all the colors came out beautifully. I’m ready to do more.

Indigo Napkin Tests

Started testing various types of napkins as well as different stitches for the CHT (Contemporary Handweavers of Texas) conference dinner table napkins. The conference is not until next May but there is lots to do. The more we can get done ahead of time the better.

Tried to use some simple patterns as I didn’t know how much help there would be and what shibori experience there was in the group.

Think we’ll also be doing other natural dyes not just just indigo. That should make for some very colorful table settings.

We’re still checking out napkin sources. I used Dharma for my test. The ones shown here are actually sold as men’s handkerchiefs but are very substantial and easy to work with. I also tried using the Dharma items sold as napkins but they were so thick I had a hard time stitching and even clamping was a problem.

Hope decisions will be made soon. There are a lot of napkins to make.

Indigo Pillows

Have gotten my pillows made for the annual Handweaver’s Sale. The pillow above had little space for embroidery but I did get a bit on it. Didn’t think about the addition of stitching when I sewed the strips together. Was more concerned about getting the most interesting strips maximum exposure.

This pillow had a bit more ‘in front’ space for a bit of embroidery.

The embroidery on this pillow is a bit more subtle. This was the only pillow with shibori designs on both the front and back so embellishment was kept to a minimum.

This is the patchwork pillow and despite all the patterning I decided to add a lot of stitching in a lovely dark orange. This pillow is not going to the sale and is very happily sitting on my couch.

I’m now adding more shibori stitched fabric to an increasingly large pile to get ready for another indigo dye session. Stay tuned for those results.

Also trying to get a little eco printing done. The results so far have been less than spectacular. Think I’ll just concentrate on the indigo for the moment and when that is off my mind I’ll focus on some eco printing.

First Spring Batch

Started my resist stitching last fall. Took my time and ended up with a small basket full of fabric.

Finally made up my indigo vat (was waiting for the evenings to be not as cool as they had been) and dipped my basket of fabric. Didn’t wait to iron my pieces before I took the photos below (although they are washed).

Loved these. Tried several stitch options. They are destined to grow up into a couple of pillow covers.

Another interesting piece. Maybe this design on a couple of larger pieces. Would make a lovely top.

Can’t decide which side I like better. Maybe good for a pillow cover. Each design on a different side.

Only did one clamped fabric. Now that all my stitched pieces have been dyed I’ll clamp some pieces for my next dye day.

Humble Beginnings

Sometimes those things relegated to secondary roles become amazing and first rate themselves. Above is a small piece of old cotton (was a sheet once) that was used several times as a wrap over scarves when I didn’t want the wrapping string marks to show on the finished piece. Under the final prints and dye bath color can be seen shadowy shapes and colors from previous uses. This piece will now be set aside to be used as a backdrop for some stitching. It will grow up to be greater than it was.

This piece was an ‘iron blanket’. In my workshop it is a piece of cotton (a piece of old sheet) dipped in a diluted iron solution then placed over the top of a scarf before it was rolled up for the dye bath. This piece has even more interesting color and shadow prints than the wrap above as this was placed directly over the leaves on the scarf before it was rolled up. The last time it was used there were some beautiful oak leaves and a dye bath rich with madder extract. This beauty is destined to be a wall hanging.

Been Too Long

I can’t believe it has been over a month since my last post. I have been busy with my eco printing and testing more indigo resist patterns. The scarf above is silk printed with rose leaves, Purple Heart and some woodland fern with a few brushstrokes of indigo.

Unfortunately, I also had a computer crash so many hours were spent trying to find all the software and drivers to reload. Thought maybe the computer experts could copy my disk drive to a new one but the best they were able to do was load the operating system. Well at least I had a bit of warning before the crash so, in spite of backing up my data daily, I made a special backup with my ‘can’t do without’ folders and pictures. Experience has taught me now to have a copy of the system image (at least updated weekly) and to do backups that make sense. Finally back in business.

This week I plan on a heavy indigo session. Have several scarves with sewn resists done and plan on starting to prepare the shape resists today.