Last year we made an emergency trip to the DC area. It was one of those throw some stuff in a bag and get on the road kinds of trips. While there we had to visit a second hand shop and where I grabbed this camel colored cashmere sweater. In a hurry, I didn’t pour over it very carefully and didn’t notice the small holes on the chest and sleeve. Oh well, I can mend it! So this week I have been patching it up with some of the silk I dyed this summer with green pecan hulls and leaves. I like the wavy effect the stitching gives the silk. Beyond this, there isn’t much else happening right now.
Sunday I was finally able to do some indigo dyeing. This was my second vat at home using pre-reduced indigo I bought at last year’s Quilt Festival in Houston from Pro Chemical and Dye. I was able to take a shibori class at the Festival from Glennis Dolce which was my initiation into the world of indigo. There is much for me to learn. I try not to become paralyzed by the fear of failure since I can’t really learn anything if I don’t put my hand to it and give it a go. There is a chemistry to indigo. It may actually be simpler than I imagine it to be, but it is magical and mysterious to me. I hope to one day keep a fermentation indigo vat but the purist in me wishes to actually grow the indigo first, this is not happening for me yet. Here are a few pictures.
I love how soft this shirt is and how the indigo already has a weathered look.
Ok, so things I think I learned this time:
- Taking more care when dipping and removing cloth from the vat did reduce the amount of oxygen introduced into the dye which cut down the “foam” considerably. I only had to skim the flower once and there wasn’t that much to remove.
- Next time on heavily stitch resist items take a bit more time with each dip to make sure the dye reaches into the folds closest to the gathered areas. Take more time exposing those gathered places to oxygen after each dip to ensure even oxidization. Hopefully this will reduce the ghosted areas and sharpen the contrast.
- There was quite a bit of fading on some of the cotton pieces. I need to find out what I did wrong.
I was inspired by Jude at Spirit Cloth to add one more item to my shibori play, a shibori constellation. A little Sun Moon Stars fun! It was a last minute impulse and it turned out better than I expected. I lost one leg of stitches in the process though, this was done on flour-sack toweling which has a rather loose weave and it appears my knot pulled through between two “stars”.
Since several items I dyed were gifts I ran everything through a wash in Synthrapol. I don’t want the recipients having a problem with the indigo crocking!
Indigo is still beautiful and mysterious to me. I love how it wears with the cloth, showing how the thing was lived with, giving it a sense of time. I hope I never tire of this magical blue.
It has been almost a year since I last posted here. I get so busy, doing what I don’t know what! But busy none the less. I have been traveling along with Jude Hill over at Spirit Cloth as she revisits “Sun Moon Stars” from long ago. I haven’t started any new cloth tales on this journey but I did pull out my Winter Solstice Cloth from three years ago with the hope of making some new progress.
This morning I was catching up on Jude’s posts and I started doodling a couple constellation ideas. Mind you I have never been gifted at transcribing my ideas to paper (I draw most pathetically) but I did want to capture them before I stepped away to the bus-i-ness of the day.
The idea of a personal constellation made me think of sigil making. I might like to play with this notion a little more, thinking of star placement and connection. This one may be a bit too complicated for the idea of a constellation, or not? And then there is always the hand to consider? A hand full of stars?
But for now it is off to the business of the day and then work on some more nui shibori to go into the indigo vat for holiday gifts.
I started this piece more than a year ago. It has been rolled up and waiting for….. what I don’t know… I pulled it out a few days ago and noticed I almost like the back more than the front. The back has some wishes included that would be hidden in the finished “thing”…. some positive energy to follow it on it’s way.
The quilt blocks on the face were rescued from the trash bin of the law office next door to where I used to work. I carefully deconstructed it as best I could since it had been cut into for someone’s craft project. The rest of the fabrics in the “thing” are repurposed from my thrift-store stash. It is very soft and nice to touch and I find myself just pondering it and wondering. I think initially I was inspired to make something of a “Long Cloth” ala Jude Hill but at this point it flips like a book. I hadn’t planned it that way, it is just where I left off. So I’m not sure where I will go from here with the “thing”. I guess for now I will just keep holding it and wondering.
This is a recent “manifesto” of sorts I posted to my Facebook account before I disabled it. I wanted to re-post it here to remind myself to be true to myself and what is really important.
Autumn is my favorite time of year. As the earth shifts on the equinox it feels like the right time to bring what is in my heart in line with my actions. Almost a full turn ago, on the Winter Solstice, I turned 50. The onset of my crone years has never been something I feared but I have felt a certain sense of “but wait I’m not where I thought I would be”! The last nine months have passed by without any real forward movement for me, in fact in some aspects I may have even stepped backward. So as I near the end of my 51st year, with the coming of Autumn, I realize that time is not unlimited for me. It really isn’t for any of us but generally we continue to expect tomorrow and may not live today to the fullest. I’m not feeling dismal or gloomy or being morbid. It is what it is, as they say. But today I am struck by the silly waste of another precious year. So I ask myself what it is I would like to accomplish in these crone years, where did I think I would be and why am I not there? What needs to be done? For starters, I am going to stop wasting time on things that are of no true consequence or value to me. I’m going to turn away from battles that really aren’t mine to fight. I am going to stop worrying about how others perceive me, I can’t change that anyway. I’m going to spend my time doing things that are meaningful to me. I am going to live my ethics, vote my conscience, and stop caring that it’s often different from how most people I know feel. I’m going to create things that I want to create for the simple joy of creating them and not care one bit if anyone likes it. I’m going to shake hands with the pain of the past, honor it and then let it go on about its business…. I don’t need it anymore anyway. I’m going to live my life like my days are numbered, which really… they are… I hope to still have many to live to the fullest.