Managing a serious illness in the family, there hasn’t been time for much updating of the blog journal….but I am using the quick format of Instagram to keep a bit of a record of textile potterings, which add a bit of peace and grounding to difficult times. Sometimes just finding time to soak one little piece of cloth in a pot of plant dye, or stitch a row of simple stitches on a small piece of cloth that may one day become a pocket or a patch, can bring some moments of calm and meditation.
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With a bout of what is probably a very common Dyer’s Disease, I went out to dye ONE garment two days ago and ended up with indigo vat being revived, a large brew of eucalyptus leaves/onion skins/walnut hulls and a bit of copper cooking up in another pot, and a large pile of my own stitched or upcycled garments [op-shop finds , some of them altered or soon-to-be!] ready for a cook up. Needless to say the past two days have disappeared in a haze of focused dyeing. There is something about the magic of it all, one thing leads to another “what-if”, the indigo vat becomes temperamental, various garments in the “fail” pile call out to be re-worked………and time vanishes.
Pics below are of some of the results……..plain indigo dyed pieces that will have pockets and patches added;some more circles that may eventually become part of a mandala stitched cloth; a dress that was a dull blue now over-printed with leaves and simmered in the above-described eucalyptus pot, [the blue has not shown up in the photo very well]; a skirt that had been printed and over-printed but still looked very murky, now a bit more interesting I think and will be more so with a couple of embroidered and layered pockets added! and a linen shirt that has been dyed in an onion skin bath, I am playing with patches and pockets for this one, and also altering the size by piecing a panel into the back! again the iphone photo has dulled it off, it is a lovely golden colour that I am very pleased with.
A very promising sight this morning, lovely blue bloom on the fructose vat
And the ph was good at 11.4; so I had high hopes for a good strong colour; but in fact it was a fairly pale result, proving that my vat often has a mind of its own! Nevertheless some multiple dips and some over-dyeing produced some interesting results
And even a couple more misty moons!
I have managed to revive my dormant fructose vat with a combination of methods…. heat, more fructose, more hydrated lime and finally a new starter added in! I find I want to overdye some of the pieces after they dry . Nice pile of garments growing, also small bits of fabric for a slow cloth that i am starting to plan. But most exciting was my first successful moon….
I love the moon circles that Jude Hill uses in her lovely Spirit Cloths, and I have been learning some indigo and Shibori techniques from the Shibori Girl website. I think this will be the forerunner of quite a few moons!
A very fun blue-letter day: my first attempt at an indigo vat. Used the natural 3-2-1 pickling lime and fruit one, used fructose today but will try with bananas next. I muddled along a bit with the proportions and getting the lime to dissolve into the brew, so as I always seem to do, I was learning on the job! but it seemed to follow the general process which all the instructions point to, and I managed to sample -dye a number of pieces of fabric! very exciting, will keep practising with this over the next week or two; a change from my favourite eucalyptus – based dye pots . Will be pleased to see how the fabrics look tomorrow after washing: can’t quite believe it has been so successful and so quick! The vat was very strong, I actually weakened off some of the brew for the lighter pieces but I suspect they will be lighter in any case after washing………..watch this space !!!