Indigo dyeing with Carol

Last week my sister Woman of the Cloth Carol came round for a day of indigo dyeing.

indigo dyeing

I’ve not run indigo shibori workshops at my house because the thought of having several people traipsing between my kitchen (where the water supply is) and the garden (where the indigo vat is) with dripping blue bundles is a bit alarming, even though my house is not exactly up to show home standard – as you will see from the photos!

Also, indigo dyeing is slow – you need to dip several times to build up colour and make it fast, and the fabric has to oxidise well between dips. And although there are some shibori techniques that are relatively quick, stitching and binding resists are time consuming. So it’s not for people who want to produce something in a couple of hours.

shibori stitching

However, Carol is a very competent stitcher (she runs embroidery workshops), and, despite her being a decorator, I knew she wouldn’t be judgemental about the state of my house. 😉

She turned up with a beautiful bundle of table mats and napkins, many of them with lovely crocheted or cutwork edging. Some of these we just dyed without any resists.

indigo dyeing

A couple of the larger pieces we rolled and tied with string.

indigo shibori

For the stitching techniques we used mokume (woodgrain), karamatsu (Japanese larch) and maki-age (stitch combined with binding).

We managed to dip each piece three times, but as I generally prefer to let the fabric oxidise overnight before unpicking, Carol took some of the pieces home and undid them and washed them through the next day.

indigo shibori indigo shibori

As you can see, the stitch patterns are very strong and distinct – good stitching technique Carol! 🙂


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Flextiles uses shibori, ecoprinting and felting to create original, one-off upcycled pieces. Extending the life of a garment by an extra nine months reduces its environmental impact by 20-30%.

8 thoughts on “Indigo dyeing with Carol”

  1. It was a lovely day Kim – I really enjoyed learning the stitching and folding techniques with you. You’re a very patient and competent teacher! It was with a sense of excitement that I embarked on the washing, unpicking and revealing of my patterns the next day after leaving the pieces to oxidise overnight. I was very pleased with the results, and even ,ore pleased with your praise of my stitching Kim! Let’s do more …. Oh, and your house is a wonderfully inspiring place to be – full of interesting textiles and colour, so stop making it sound a mess! Xx

    1. Thanks for your kind comments about my teaching Carol! I didn’t really think of it as teaching – just spending the day together doing something creative. 🙂 I’m glad you like the results, and the praise for your stitching is well deserved!

  2. I know exactly what you mean about dyeing at the house. I have my group over and we tend to get dye everywhere. I don’t worry about it much but my hubbie has a fit. Great blues and her stitching technique looks perfect!

    1. Ah, some men will never understand the creative process – that you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. 🙂 (Apologies for the confusing metaphor!)

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