I have been waiting, not patiently, for spring to arrive so I could do some indigo dyeing. Finally, it got warm enough and last weekend my friend Sheila and I set up a dye vat.
One of the first into this spring’s dye bath was a pale turquoise cotton crinkle scarf. The colour was not intense enough and it was boring!
Handwoven organic cotton makes a luscious scarf, with a super fine crepe texture. I absolutely love the result. It is the scarf on the right hand side below.
These three indigo dyed crinkle scarves are so easy to care for. They can be machine washed in gentle and machine dried too. Ideal travel companions, wrapped around neck, shoulders or folded under to rest your head. Twist to pack, shake out and wear. You will always be elegantly dressed! Bon voyage!
Help, guidance, inspiration and motivation can be delivered to your In Box! Last week during the panel discussion at the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild, three of us shared our journey into Monetizing Your Craft! The time went by so quickly that I didn’t have time to mention the resources I find helpful in crafting my business. Listed below are just some of the many resources available on the web. I have enjoyed listening to these people talking about their passion.
I encourage you to have a look at the sites above. You will find some that speak to you and others that won’t. When you find some those you enjoy, sign up for their newsletters, YouTube channels, and feeds. Support these creative entrepreneurs! Please let me know which blogs, podcasts you have found informative or just fun so I can add to my list. Enjoy!
Since the snow is gone (yeah!), I began indigo dyeing. It was finally warm enough during the May long weekend to set up an indigo vat. I happily spent much of the weekend dipping: two tablecloths, a dozen or more napkins, cotton/rayon scarves, linen handkerchiefs, and quilting cotton. Not ready to throw out the indigo vat, I stored it under our deck.
A couple of weeks went by before I could get back to dyeing. I pulled out the indigo vat on Sunday to see if it was still viable. I tested a piece of pfd cotton and was surprised to find the indigo vat still had some life left! So I set up a makeshift indigo studio in the laneway.
I experimented with some small pieces of wool suiting, pfd cotton, linen/rayon crinkle scarves, cotton voile and double gauze cotton. The last two are new scarves that I am excited to be adding to my shop.
This pfd cotton has been dipped a few times and the colour is deeper than I was expecting.
One of the wool suitings scrunched and dipped. I didn’t expect the indigo vat to be viable so I didn’t have my drying rack set up. Instead, I used the bushes in our laneway.
Another wool suiting rolled and tied.
This pale yellow piece of wool has a few moth holes, but I love the yellow and blue together.
My neighbour showed up with this rack that she was going to throw out. It is perfect to use for hanging up the indigo dyed pieces. It just needs a little duct tape and will be a good addition to my dyeing supplies.
Here are a few of the pieces I’ve dyed during the second round of indigo dyeing drying on my new rack!
On Sunday, I left a piece of pfd cotton and a nui shibori scarf in the indigo vat overnight. On Monday, I pulled out the scrunched up pfd cotton and was happy to see a rich blue colour.
I recently read about an experiment where the dyer left pieces of fabric in an indigo vat overnight and compared those pieces to fabric that had been repeatedly dipped in the indigo. There was no difference in the depth of colour between the two, suggesting that repeated dips in indigo are not needed to dye a fabric, just a longer time in the vat. I haven’t washed these out yet, so I know that the colour will be lighter. I am happy to have had more time experimenting with this fascinating process.
I have been waiting very impatiently for warm weather so I could indigo dye. Finally, I was able to spend part of this long weekend indigo dyeing scarves, napkins and some baby onesies too. I will be bringing these hand dyed items along with my snow dyed scarves to Pickering, Ontario for their annual art festival: Artfest being held in Esplanade Park.
Generously sized cotton/rayon Arashi Shibori scarf dyed in indigo.
Itajime Shibori indigo dyed pareo.
Nui shibori cotton/rayon indigo dyed scarf.
Ombre dyed baby onesies dipped in indigo.
The Weather Network is calling for a sunny Saturday with a few clouds and a high of 25. Perfect outdoor weather to explore Artfest On The Esplanade. Hope to see you there!
I spent a lovely day in Prince Edward County meeting Shelley of KOKITO. This is a charming shop on Main Street in the town of Bloomfield, Ontario where the owners, Shelley Durnin and Jennifer Hadenne curate a beautiful selection of Canadian made and designed items.
Bloomfield is a small town located in the centre of the County. The Main Street is lined with small shops, restaurants and galleries. Everything is within walking distance and the shore of Lake Ontario is close by.
The shop stocks a great selection and variety of products all made by local artisans. Shelley and Jennifer source all the wares they sell in the shop personally, so every member of the family can find something they love. Kokito’s motto is: “Canadian Design and Lakeside Living” and this certainly describes the aesthetic of the shop.
I am happy to share that Kokito will be carrying my snow dyed shibori scarves as well as indigo napkins and table runners. The stack of hand dyed pieces below will already be out on display in the shop.
Prince Edward County is an area of southern Ontario that I had not visited. It has been described by friends as a beautiful, peaceful, yet vibrant place. I can see why! I hope you have the opportunity to travel to Bloomfield and meander around this pretty little town. When you do, visit Kokito and shop the beautiful locally made artisanal products for yourself or to give as gifts. You won’t be disappointed!
Commonplace materials were used to create a template for stitching our design.
This chevron pattern was a challenge even though Roland very carefully explained the process! The design is transferred to the narrow cotton kimono cloth that is also used in making tea towels in Japan. The other end of the cotton is visible at the top. The edge has been marked and gathered, ready for the indigo dye bath. These edges are held in place by 8 layers of folded cotton. This will give the design a continuous solid colour from edge to edge.
I believe this is Roland’s example created in class. After being dipped in the Contemporary Textile Studio’s natural indigo vat three times, two stitches were removed and the piece was dipped into the indigo vat again. This gives the cotton a beautiful ombre effect.
Another technique Roland demonstrated was how to create a gradient effect. The very thin poles are made out of bamboo and are inserted into the fabric edges. This easily allows the fabric to be held apart to facilitate the dyeing process.
My slightly blurry photo of this piece.
Roland Ricketts’ work:
Roland brought samples of his work. The designs, colour and quality of his indigo pieces are outstanding. I encourage you to view his much better photographs on his website: Ricketts Indigo. You will also see work by Chinami Ricketts. Chinami hand weaves beautiful cloth used in kimonos.
Wrapped in plastic to protect the handwoven cotton cloth is a kimono length woven by Chinami and dyed by Roland. This piece still needs to be overdyed before it is complete.
I took my indigo dyed pieces home and hung them outside to dry. The piece on the right is from the workshop. I dipped it three times and then removed two rows of stitching to achieve the lighter shade of blue at the top. The two handkerchiefs were brought from home and dyed with no resist.
The scrap cotton that was used on the ends of the bound piece have an interesting texture. You can see the small dots, some with the threads still attached where the stitching was secured. These small bits will find a way into my work too!
The indigo will need to be stored in a dark dry place for a couple of weeks before I finally wash and neutralize the fabric. I am looking forward to using this fabric in some new artwork.
I learned so much taking this indigo dyeing workshop and realize that I have so much more to learn. Making time for learning, sharing and meeting other artists is so very important. I hope you take the opportunity whenever you can.
A friend and I visited the Aga Khan Museum this weekend. A very knowledgeable and enthusiastic docent began our visit with an introduction on the design of the building by architect: Fumihiko Maki. He was given the theme of light as his inspiration. An interior courtyard brings light into the center of the building and provides a lovely outdoor space in warm weather.
Artifacts that are centuries old have colours, textures and designs that seem modern and timeless.
The museum’s collection of pottery, glass, metalwork, and calligraphy is a source of inspiration.
The mosaic tiles in the fountain can be translated directly into quilt blocks.
Turquoise, blue, and gold colours found in the pottery, are some of my favourites and I imagine them in a project.
More designs that can be directly translated into quilt blocks. Also Ideas for arranging the blocks in various configurations.
The circular design in the candlestick above reminds me of the New York Beauty block. I can imagine this block on a solid background and heavily quilted with angular lines like in the background above.
Two dishes in the collection look very modern. I loved the simplicity and elegance of the designs. More information for both of these pieces and many others are available on the museum website in the Collection Highlights tab.
Although the Aga Khan Museum features historical cultural artifacts from Islamic civilizations, it also features contemporary artwork. The piece above: Flying Carpet by Farhad Moshiri is a stack of 32 machine-made carpets that has a fighter plane cut out of the centre. The artist, Moshiri, was inspired by a documentary on Afghan carpet weavers. They had been incorporating modern technologies into the design of the carpets – planes, drones and other military armaments.
Another special exhibit on display until March 26, 2017 is Syria: A Living History. This exhibit contains historical artifacts and contemporary artwork illustrating the diverse culture and history of Syria. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed in this exhibit, so you will have to visit the museum to see the collections in person. The grounds around the museum are also worth visiting – I will need to return in the spring when the weather is a bit warmer!
I am pleased with the results of dyeing linen. I made two sets of napkins from some beautiful cream coloured linen. The first set of four are cocktail napkins about 9 inches square. Two resists were used to make the design.
I took a photograph of the linen napkins, before dyeing them. They are shown below, folded and clamped with their resist. The piece in the centre is cotton wrapped around two CDs and bound with elastics. I haven’t yet washed this piece out.
The dinner napkins are a generous size. At 19 inches they will easily shield the messiest diner!
In our house we always use cloth, most of them vintage. Do you still use cloth napkins?