After a break of around two months I finally fired up the indigo vat and did some dyeing yesterday.
The first experiment was to see if I could do something with the sample of smocking. Unlike shibori, where the stitches are pulled tight to create the resist, some of the stitches in this type of smocking are left loose. I knew that just dipping it in the indigo as it was would probably result in just a blue piece of cloth, as the dye would be able to penetrate all areas of the cloth.
So in the end I bound it to a pipe, as in arashi shibori, but left it flat, without compressing it. I knew from previous experiments of dyeing paper overlaid with cloth that the indigo won’t fully penetrate more than one layer of cotton.
This was the result, front (top) and back (bottom).
You can vaguely see the crossed lattice pattern in the top photo, but the bottom one looks more random. Back to the drawing board on this one for now.
More successfully, I dyed a linen pouch in a mokune pattern.
And threw in a few scarves for good measure.
It was so lovely to be able to hang them out in the sunshine to dry. Seems like spring may be on the way at last.