Monday, September 1, 2014

Kumo shibori (III): Leaves

My favorite indigo-dyed fabrics this summer include two pieces in which I combined different techniques to produce leaf designs:

I didn't take photos along the way, so I hope you can visualize the method (the final photo below might help).  The stems are created through ori nui: I folded along the stem line, stitched a running stitch in parallel close to the fold line, and then gathered and knotted.  For the leaves, I outlined the leaf with a running stitch, pulled and knotted, and then tied a kumo knot to get the texture inside the outlined leaf.  Basically, the technique is the same as for the stitched circles that I described a few weeks ago, but with a leaf shape instead.

I didn't take into account how the finished design would go a little bit beyond the leaf outline after dyeing, so the clusters are a bit closer together than I'd like for quilting, even in the second piece, in which I tried to make more space.  The seam allowances mean that I will lose part of the design on some of the leafy branches when I cut them apart as small blocks or panels.  With that in mind, I recently prepped this piece, with generous margins around the leaf clusters:

close-up: cluster of seven leaves in the foreground
Unfortunately, I didn't have time for my intended final vat this summer.  I had hoped to be dyeing this past weekend, but I'm behind on prep work.  In addition, we just had guests, plus another guest this coming weekend, and I just couldn't face setting up the dyeing equipment (part of which goes in our guest suite), and then cleaning it all up again in short order.  Instead, I'm scheming to set up an indoor indigo vat on Thanksgiving weekend in October--probably not the best idea, but anything to dye this fabric before summer 2015!

In the meantime, I couldn't resist the call of quilting with my indigo dyed fabrics, so I've already started assembling a top.  I'll show the progress on this week's WIP Wednesday.


  1. Amazing work! It would be fascinating to learn how to do this. I love the resulting fabrics!