Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Indigo update

Today's post is brought to you by...

...the letter "U," for "update"!

I was out of town for family reasons for pretty much the entire past week, so I didn't have time for any sewing.  No new progress to report on my MQG Challenge Quilt, and no new dye vats either.  Instead, I'll mainly just share some show-and-tell from my second indigo dye vat on May 2.

As I mentioned before, I thought my first vat had too much reducing agent, which kept me from getting dark blues.  For this vat, I cut back on the thiox, and I achieved a nice gradation of solids:

From left to right, the above fabrics represent a sequence of 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 dips in the indigo bath.  The actual dyeing sequence consisted of four fat eighths in which I withdrew one piece from dyeing after every two rounds of dipping and aerating (what I call a 2-4-6-8 dip).  I did the three-dip piece separately towards the end of the afternoon, when I was just trying to use up as much dye as possible.  Although the indigo isn't as colorfast as I'd like (I had a lot of dye runoff when rinsing), I'm really happy with these fabrics, especially the deep, dark blue of the final piece.

As with the first vat, I also dyed a number of pieces with various shibori techniques:

Itajime (clamp resist):

Arashi (pole-wrapping):

l. to r.: tesuji and arashi shibori
tesuji close-up
My attempt at shirokage ("white shadow" stitched shibori) didn't work out quite as I had hoped.  I was trying for the "white box" pattern that I've been admiring in Cape Cod Shibori's Etsy shop.   Instead, here's what I ended up with:

shirokage close-up
It's still an interesting piece, even though it's not what I wanted.  I think I stitched it incorrectly, and I probably also made mistakes in the way that I tied it to the paint roller brush that I used as a resist.  Now I'm in the process of stitching two new fat quarters in order to try again.  Here's how the first looked yesterday evening as I got started:

When I've prepped both of these fabrics, I intend to throw one in the dye bath straight up, while I'll try the shirokage technique again with the other, for a positive/negative comparison.  I've finished stitching the first piece, and it took almost an hour just to pull up the threads.  The knots pulled through the fabric on a few of them, so I have a little patching up to do--I'll see how that affects the finished product.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced and the Needle and Thread Network.  Happy sewing!


  1. Love the shibori pieces. I look forward to seeing what you make with them.

  2. these are wonderful! Love your letters too!!!