Wednesday, September 30, 2015

out beyond blue...

in which our plucky heroine has fun with indigo...

After spending days of my transit time stitching up carefully folded panels of linen in preparation for some shibori dyeing, Wednesday was set aside for a visit to my pal Marya, aka the goddess with the blue hands. She has quite a bit of experience with indigo dyeing, and agreed to help me turn my first shibori efforts blue...

The warm indigo vat, with the first dip of my prepared shibori panels.

Five of the panels coming out of the vat after the first dip. The indigo in the linen fabric is just beginning to oxidise and turn blue. Marya figured out a clever way to suspend my panels in two groups of five, using yarn and a bamboo stick, which made the process much less cumbersome than individually dipping ten panels over and over

After a few dips, the tightly gathered panels look very sculptural. The magic of indigo is easy to fall in love with! After seven dips the panels look very dark indeed, almost black, though some of that will rinse away, and the color will lighten further once the panels are dry.

These panels were then rinsed repeatedly while still tightly gathered. There will be a lot of rinsing; while the indigo does bind tightly to the fibers, a lot of excess dye tags along. The more thoroughly the dyed fabric is rinsed, the less excess dyestuff remains to be rubbed off onto other clothing or the skin of the wearer...

I couldn't resist opening up a panel to see if/how my hours of stitchery worked out...
This design is called "horse's teeth". To me, what I ended up with looks a bit more like dental x-rays, and while not exactly like how the pattern is supposed to come out, it is very pretty indeed.

The other design I tried was this "undulating line" pattern, also in ori nui shibori. I am quite chuffed at how these two different designs turned out, and look forward to useing the panels as part of my Honor Feast kosode project.

September SMART goals
1 apron dress for L linen closet doors bag to Goodwill
2 DM coronet shed roof patched bag to Goodwill
3 DM coronet front door latch bag to Goodwill
4 red top for Joan bike brake cable bag to Goodwill
5 Coptic stitch book bike kickstand bag to Goodwill
6 duct tape clone side yard work bag to Goodwill
7 whitewash back yard work bag to Goodwill
8 4 heraldic enamels whitewash henhouse bag to Goodwill
9 10 shibori panels chook roost electronica x 2
10 - - yard waste bin
11 - - yard waste bin
12 - - -


  1. Wow Alison. The indigo pieces are lovely. Very you. Also impressed at your smart for this month!

    1. Thank you Ruthie! I may not be getting much sewing for me done this month, but have been making progress on other fronts. I have wanted to try shibori for years and years... The kosode I will be making, will end up as a warm weather house robe, since I don't have much need for an ongoing Japanese medieval set of clothing

  2. Replies
    1. It was fun, I want to do more with indigo and shibori... maybe a big Japanese style banner with my horse and my badge...

  3. Beautiful indigo! I hope you show us the kosode you make from the panels.

    1. There will be pictures. It might even count as part of my "filling in the gaps" 6PAC. I have two sets of stenciled panels to do, and one set of block printed ones, and then I can assemble the pieces... surely I can do this in the next ten days, right?!?

  4. Wow, these are really beautiful! You are really an artisan.

  5. Absolutely gorgeous, Alison! WOW! Those fabrics are to die for.