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Indigo Dyeing Workshop: Part Two

On the second day of the workshop we were back early with stitched pieces of fabric ready to dye! Preparing the fabric was time consuming but the results were fantastic! The beige fabric is a linen/cotton blend that will become a pillow. It is basted from the center out with upholstery thread and running stitches. The other beige piece has the fabric pulled through metal washers. The white cotton on the lower left has small plastic bead wrapped inside and tied with thread.

Fabrics prepared to indigo dye
Fabrics prepared to indigo dye
Linen/cotton fabric prepared for Indigo dyeing
Linen/cotton fabric prepared for Indigo dyeing and rayon velvet

There are four basic techniques for shibori dyeing that we worked with:

  1. Arashi Shibori – pole-wrapping
  2. Itajime Shibori – folding and clamping
  3. Kumo Shibori – bound resists
  4. Nui shibori – stitching and gathering
Indigo fabrics drying
Indigo fabrics drying

Shibori designs are created when the fabric resists the indigo dye. This is achieved by creating portions of the cloth where the dye can’t penetrate. So, the tighter that fabric is gathered, clamped or stitched, the more it retains its original colour in these areas.

Indigo shibori pieces drying
Indigo shibori pieces drying

Above, on the left is a PFD cotton that was folded in half lengthwise and then pole wrapped. The cotton gauze on the right was folded into squares and clamped in-between two pieces of wood.

Indigo fabrics drying on line
Indigo fabrics drying on line

Each time I unwrapped a piece, more design possibilities were suggested. I would like to experiment with different weights and textures of fabric as well as silk and pure linen. I think that the differing weaves of the fabric will also contribute to the uniqueness of the finished designs.

Indigo fabrics drying on line
Indigo fabrics drying on line

There are more pieces waiting to be washed and ironed. I enjoyed creating the varied styles using the shibori technique and will try them out using Procion fabric dyes during the summer.

Indigo Shibori - Itajime
Indigo Shibori – Itajime

The fabric on the right looks like daisies!

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Indigo Dyeing Workshop: Part One

A few weeks ago, a friend and I spent 2 full days dyeing fabric using Indigo. It was great fun and I made some beautiful pieces of fabric.

Colour Vie Studio
Colour Vie Studio

The workshop was held at the Colour Vie Studio owned by textile designer and teacher Gunnel Hag. The 2 day workshop “The World of Indigo” was taught by textile designer and indigo dyer extraordinaire Pam Woodward.

Indigo samples
Indigo samples

Pam had a wall of samples, each one more gorgeous and inspiring than the last.

Indigo Shibori sample
Indigo Shibori sample

I especially wanted to try making something similar to the one above.

Indigodyebucket
Indigo Dye Bucket

Indigo is a plant based dye and the process differs slightly from Procion MX dyes which I’ve used in the past. It’s important not to add oxygen to the vat of indigo, so care needs to be taken adding and removing fabric from the dye pot. The metallic sheen on the surface means that the solution is ready to be used.

Indigo Gradient
Indigo Gradient

When the fabric is first removed from the vat, it is a green colour. The piece changes colour from green to blue as the fabric is exposed to the air and oxidization occurs. It’s like magic seeing the colour change!

Indigo gradient with 3 dips
Indigo Gradient with 3 dips

Our first piece was dyed with repeated dips in the vat, introducing less of the fabric each time to give an ombre effect.

Indigo gradient fabric
Indigo gradient fabric and pole wrapped piece

Our second piece was created by wrapping the fabric around a PVC pipe, wrapping the fabric with string and then pushing it up and twisting it around the tube tightly to create small pleats. The pipe was submerged into the dye about four times, oxidizing for 20 minutes or more between each dip.  When I unfolded the fabric, I found the dye had created a beautiful diagonal movement with leaf shapes.

Indigo Shibori - Arashi
Indigo Shibori – Arashi

This is the PVC pipe with the fabric ready to be submerged into the indigo vat. This technique is called Arashi. I dyed a few more pieces using variations of this technique and it’s one of my favourites. Every time you unwrap the tube it’s a surprise.

 

 

Indigo accident
Indigo accident

This is what happens when you have a leak in your glove!

Next week I will have more photographs of the fabrics created and the techniques learned during the indigo dyeing workshop.

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Pick-up Sticks for TMQG

The Toronto Modern Quilt Guild is holding our first ever Block Lottery or quilt swap. Berene brought in a few blocks she made using the Pick-up sticks design. She used bright solids on Kona Snow. They were gorgeous.

Pick-up sticks blocks
Pick-up sticks blocks

Berene of Happy Sew Lucky created a great tutorial for us to follow. For every block a person brings to our June meeting, they will have one chance to win all the blocks. If there are many blocks, they may be divided into two piles with two very lucky winners.

Three colour pick-up sticks block
Three colour pick-up sticks block

I made two blocks. The first block has three sticks and after finishing it, I realized I should have starched the initial square before beginning. All the cuts are on the bias and therefore have a tendency to stretch. Starching would help prevent this.

pick-up sticks4
Four colour pick-up sticks block

I starched the second block and found that it did help in preventing stretch. All the seams are pressed open and this second block has four sticks inserted. Both blocks need to be trimmed to 9 1/2 “. The lucky winner will have a great start to a fun modern quilt. Looking forward to seeing all the other blocks.

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Not Quite President’s Challenge

The Toronto Modern Quilt Guild does not officially have a president. Rather two of our members, Rebecca and Andrea are acting as co-presidents. They have been doing a fantastic job in organizing our growing guild. This year they decided to host the Not Quite President’s Challenge. All the members were given a magazine, told to go to page 25 (there were 25 members at that particular meeting) and use that page as inspiration to create a small quilt.

California Closets ad
California Closets ad

The ad pictured above was on page 25 of my magazine. Anything on this page could be used as inspiration: the colours, shapes, words, anything! The quilt could have a maximum perimeter of 60″ and could be made using any technique.

Greek key blocks
Greek key blocks

I was really attracted to the Greek Key design in the rug shown in the picture. I started to piece  this block using a warm rich brown and cream.  After spending a bit of time making what you see above, I decided I didn’t really like where the design was heading.

Quilt sketchs
Quilt sketchs

I sketched a few designs on a piece of paper and also wrote down some key words from the photo. The colours include: brown, navy, white, green and fuchsia. The designs include: greek key, piping, curved light (fixture), lines both horizontal in the rug and vertical in the hanging clothes and the two people. I wanted focus words to help me plan the quilt.

jean wells cover
Intuitive Color & Design: Adventures in Art Quilting by Jean Wells.

I remembered Jean Wells’ book: Intuitive Colour & Design and read it again for inspiration. The chapter: Color Through My Eyes was especially helpful in deciding on a palette of colours. One of the assignments in this chapter deals with proportion. In this assignment you: 1) choose a colour source for inspiration – the ad; 2) write down the colours from your inspiration – the sketch above; 3) give each of the colours a percentage rating so that you can see how much or little of that particular colour is represented; 4) go back to the inspiration and look again carefully, make note of any background or dull colours you may have missed the first time.

TMQG challenge fabric selection
Fabric selection

The photograph above shows the fabrics from I pulled from my stash. I don’t have them organized by proportion yet. After my initial selection I added the two light blue pieces. One of the design elements I really like from the photo is the crispness of the piping on the chair. I also like the fine narrow lines of the piping and the light fixture. I want to include these elements that Jean calls: narrow insert piecing.

White fabric selection
White fabric selection

I don’t have many solid white in my stash, but found these tone-on-tone whites. I don’t know if I will use them, I may add a few more or eliminate some fabrics as I begin to work.