Indigo spring

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.

lattice smock

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).

smock shibori front

smock shibori back

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.

indigo shibori pouch

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.


Shibori in the sunshine

To celebrate the start of summer at last, yesterday I set up a two-gallon indigo vat in the garden, watched by a curious frog in the pond.

I followed Cally‘s recipe for a strong vat, as I wanted to experiment with dyeing cotton gauze for making nuno felt. Because the weave is far too open to stitch it on its own, I tacked a piece of gauze to a piece of poplin and used a hexagonal stencil I bought from Cally to mark where the stitching should go. Then I stitched through both pieces, pulled up and dipped three times.


The pattern was much stronger on the poplin than on the gauze (which was very difficult to photograph), but I think the dark colour will work well against white felt.

I also tried my hand, not very successfully, at a mokune moon:

Finally, I tried a variation of mokune, or stitching in rows – but much more regularly rather than using stitches of random length – topped with a circle. The pattern reminds me a bit of a stained glass window in a church.