I wanted to make something from my indigo dyed pieces from Art Camp. Looking them over, I decided that two pieces were the top and bottom of an apron. Then I cut other pieces for the straps and ties. I hand sewed it all, and it came out pretty descent. Probably would be better if I’d gathered the bottom waist, but the pattern shows this way, so I went the easier way. Finished it at my folks this week.
Posts Tagged With: indigo
So I was dyeing Saturday and my pieces are now washed and dried and ready for a new life. But what did I get?
I couldn’t get pictures that really showed the colors well. Still a lot to learn with a camera. But this piece came out just lovely. (At the rate I’ve used lovely on this and the last post, you would think I’d been spending time reading items from England, and you would be right.) But anyway, I dropped this piece of silk in the cochineal pot first. Didn’t stay in long but it did come out a nice pink color. Then I dropped it in the indigo pot. When I pulled it out, I was amazed at the lovely color. It shows a bit of the pink and the blue but mainly it is this absolutely lovely mauvey purple. I will have to find a use fitting to its color and silk.
Here are the three dresser scarves. I bought them while in Germany and the Good Lord only knows what their fiber make up is. But I was thinking that a nice green would be better than white in our new bedroom. So in they went in the osage orange bath. After a good bit of time, they then visited the indigo bath several times. I never could decide if they looked very green but there was definitely a hue there hiding.
But when I got them home and was rinsing them, it was quite an odd event. The water went all yellow/green. It was like the osage orange orange was maybe washing out from under the indigo. Could it be I should have waited longer between taking it out of the osage orange and putting it in the indigo? Odd but we continued rinsing till it was clear. Hmmm… What was I going to end up with?
Again I didn’t get the picture to look as close as I would have liked. But they ended up a very dusty blueish color. They look like there is more grey in them. A quite lovely color though not green. Well, in my eyes. My husband says there is some green there to him. I do love the color. Not what I was hoping for but they aren’t still white, I do like the color, and they will look fine in the bedroom.
So then in went a piece of cotton. First the osage orange a bit of time and then the cochineal. It is not an in your face orange. But very soft. Now I hate yellow and have a dislike of orange, but this came out a nice comforting color. Not bad at all. Will have to find a good use for it as well.
My only other piece was the one that I’m holding in the picture that was suppose to be a video in the last post. It is just a nice mottled blue. A good piece of not very dark indigo.
So my own dyed items from Saturday. It was quite a fun adventure. Not sure I would get enough into dyeing to want to get too particular for particular colors, but having the pots and just experimenting is a good bit of fun. I probably got some colors I like better than if I had tried for something I wanted.
Early Saturday I headed east from Lexington for Jesse Jones Park in Humble where I volunteered when we lived that way. It was fun to head out for a Second Saturday despite the drive being 4 times as long as it once was and it not being perfect weather. Now I know these pictures make it look like a lovely day, but the weather was a fickle maiden this day.
The theme of the day was food from the fire. There was a wild pig spitted and roasted over night to be enjoyed. These pigs are way too abundant and tear up all in their path. There were also set ups of castiron dutch oven cooking with savory and sweet. Wonderful tastes for all to enjoy.
But I also took out the dyes left over from Art Camp and as a continuation of the theme from last month, spinning and weaving, we had some dyeing going Saturday this month as well as a new weaver trying to learn to warp a loom and people wanting to know what that wheel did.
We had the three pots from Art Camp going. The cochineal and osage orange on a very low fire that someone put more wood on that shouldn’t have. Oh well, it didn’t ruin anything, but my idea of a small fire and others wasn’t quite the same. Then the indigo pot was at work on the table. We tried to make sure we did everything as we were taught at Art Camp, alas, and with me there is always an alas, but alas we did have one bit that never got put out but it wasn’t a flop so can’t complain.
The afternoon was spent trying to keep the occasional drizzle and big drops out of the pots. Especially the indigo. We dropped in cloth the park is going to make into aprons. Roving of both cotton and wool went in different pots. Dresser scarves of unknown fiber. And Maureen even took off her apron when she decided she would love a blue one instead of white.
We were thankful that the Lord provided us with a tree that had a branch that just went off on its own almost horizontal to the ground. As we were out without a clothes line the leaning branch became our old fashion hanging rack to let the indigo items air in the oxygen before going back in the pot.
I had pieces left over from Art Camp so threw some of them in the pots. So we experimented. I even went for an orange and it isn’t a bad one either. I don’t really care for orange but it is quite muted. I also threw in a silk piece. First in the cochineal and then the indigo. It is the most lovely mauvey purple one could want. I so love how it came out.
I did ask about the time once and a gal said that it was late. I about panicked as I did have a two hour drive home. But it turned out her definition of late and what I would have called late back in my old days at the park were two different things. It was actually just normal time when things start shutting down. We had two hours yet before we would have thought it late in the old days. Doesn’t that sound bad. But those days are over a year ago now. Time sure flies when you’re older.
We did get the fun of watching the cloths come out of the indigo bath and turn from a yellow green to blue. I don’t think I will ever be tired of watching the magic happen. We even had the idea of trying to get some video of it happening. But best laid schemes. We were all ready and pulled out the cloth, had video going, or so it seemed. After I got home and watched it, it turned out it didn’t start at the first press of the button, but started when it was pressed again to stop. So I clipped a picture of the cloth all blue and if one were to want to they can watch the top of the table and listen to us talk to visitors who came by while we were trying to do this. Oh, and yes my dress is my first outfit that I don’t wear anymore, but if one is playing around dye baths, if I’m playing around dye baths, I figured I better wear something that wouldn’t matter if I spilled the indigo completely over. Actually, I made it out with only my hands very blue but with some scrubbing, I only have blue finger nails now. It is wearing off but indigo does love protein. And yes, my hair is down. I had to wash it Friday, and there was just no way it was going to stay in a bonnet. So it won and I had a mess to comb out when I got home.
Yes, I had a desire to dye my workhorse apron blue. It is the apron that has managed to make it to more than one entry here. From the moment that I wove the cloth and completed the sewing. Then it has been a help so many times – needing hot pads for cast iron pots or an umbrella in a gully washer. On a hot Texas summer day, it was so handy for wiping away sweat. It had all the marks of its life but still going strong as ever.
But what does one do when they come home with indigo? They look for something to turn blue and my apron went in the pot. I poured out the large container of dye into a bucket my husband got me, and I let it sit. Then I added color release (oh, what is its proper name?) to the pot a couple of times and then got a fairly green paper towel twist. So in went the apron. And then laid out. It was a bit windy this particular day so hence the cardboard protecting the pot from blowing bits of this and that while awaiting the next dunking.
At first I didn’t think it was really working and I was going to have to go in and read a good bit more. But… Then I pulled it out and it had that greenish hue that was exciting to see turn blue. So I laid it out to oxidize and came back later. In it went again. I so wanted to get a picture of that greenish hue before it really oxidized but alas and alack it always turned before the camera could catch it. Even when I got the tripod out and only had to hit the button. I am wondering though about slowing that change down. I’m sure it had to do with how well set up the pot was and as I’m still a green newbie at it… Much to learn yet.
But for a good bit of the day I kept dunking the apron and then taking it out. Laying it out to oxidize. Constantly having to move the drying rack as the sun passed across the sky as I did read to keep it in the shade while processing. It started much closer to the back door than it finished.
I loved the dark wet color so kept at it a couple more times and finally declared it done and let it dry completely. I could be happy if it were even darker than it is but all in all it is a pretty good color. Then I read Connie’s notes on finishing and so I washed and set and declared it completed. That was just in time to wear it last Saturday.
Saturday, Texas 180th Independence Day celebration was at Washington-on-the-Brazos not far from me. Since joining the guild in Bryan, I had the opportunity to go out to Barrington Farm and demonstrate spinning for the day. I love spinning and talking history so what is a better way to spend a day? As I was getting ready to head out early, Mark got a picture of me in my handwoven dress and now handwoven, partly handspun, indigo dyed blue apron. Had the car packed with my wheel, wool, cotton, bench, niddy noddy, and much more, because you never know what question will be asked or what you will decide that you wished you had brought along.
It was a beautiful sunny day. With a wonderful breeze that only got in the way when trying to card wool and then take it off the cards and roll it up. I learned to aim the cards in just the right direction to let the breeze help me and not hinder.
I had several great conversations. I guess when you love history, and you think everyone should love it as much as you, and they should want to learn all they can; you love it when someone comes by and wants to listen and ask questions. Though near the end was the best part of the day. A group stopped by and the mother had that look of someone who had spun out of necessity in her life. I asked if she had and through her children translating for us, I learned she had spun but with a wheel that you turned with a handle. I did a first and asked if she would like sit and try my wheel out. I never let people touch it when demonstrating, but I couldn’t help myself here. I learned that they were from Damascus, and I was amazed that here was a lady from the oldest city in the world (continuously lived in) sitting at my wheel taking part in one of the oldest occupations in the world. I was so in the moment that I just lived it and now have so many questions I would love to ask her and her children. She had that wonderful old sweet grandma look about her and her kids were in their 20s or so maybe young 30s by my guess. Oh, I want to talk with them now.
That aside I had a wonderful day. Lovely day. Sweet day. Thank you Lord for the blessing of it.
And you never know who you will meet.
So I have written a bit lately about CHT Art Camp. Between here with my dyeing adventure and for the CHT Newsletter. You’d think I would be tired of writing about it by now but I have continued on the journey that began with a challenge that was given to me at camp and well – what is one to do but take it up and make it happen?
Sunday evening I was sitting with some gals from my dyeing class and we were chatting and I was making little squares with my Zoom Loom. Well, despite feeling quite brain dead, I was mesmerized by a thought that one gal had about the Zoom Loom. Could you weave two squares together and then not need to connect them afterwards? Somehow have one completed square beside the loom and weave in the new one to it?
It doesn’t matter how brain dead one may feel, one must take up a challenge and see if it could be done. And guess what? I managed it. Well, barely that evening.
The idea was to see it with two different color of squares, which would be ideal, one could weave it and then see how it went together. Alas I only had the one yarn with me to try, so I made two squares with different patterns to differentiate them.
I wove one and then had a time to get brain cells to work together, but I decided to cut enough yarn for a second square and then I decided to cut that in half so that I wasn’t weaving it all through the connections. I laid in the first layer. Then I wove into the finished one on the second layer. When I got to the end of the yarn I made a russian join with the second piece of yarn and then laid in the third layer. Then came the harder bit. I was so brain dead I knew I had a problem but couldn’t figure it out. I have made so many of these squares I could do it in my sleep but not this evening. I had to get out the booklet and figure out what I was suppose to be doing. I finally found my silly problem and got back at it. So with the fourth layer you weave the actual square but also making sure to catch the loop to the first one as well.
I made it work! I was happy, though it did look a bit sad, it had worked.
I then got home and decided to keep working on the idea so wove five squares together. The middle one was a pattern square and the two on each side were just done plain weave. And not leaving well enough alone, I decided it was time to try dyeing at home with the indigo I had brought home with me from Art Camp.
So here is my home setup. I didn’t think to take pictures at first so none of that first dip. I was afraid at first that it wasn’t going to take but after a few it kept getting darker and was working. Adding the color remover worked to get that look I was looking for in the solution.
So taking a clue from camp I spent the day walking by and lowering it into the dye, walk away, taking it out of the dye, finding a way to hang it up to oxidize, walk away, and repeat. I actually was even having fun getting pictures when it dawned on me to take them.
I must say that it was fun and these five squares were connected without seaming. I did learn in doing the five that it matters which ends you connect with (accidentally did that correct at camp.) And that you want to pick up the second loop first in each set. So if I do this again, it will come out even better. Right? Always looking to improve.
This was ever so exciting to see and do. So simple. So amazing. Even seeing that bit of yellow turn to blue. I debated still going further with the dye to get it even darker but it is quite dark on its own so think this is it for this piece.
So here is a closeup of one of the connections woven together. Do we really like closeups of our work where it is shown to us at 5 times larger than it really is? Guess what? I just noticed that I missed a loop. Or did I catch the wrong bit at the first? Looks like there could be three there. Or … hmm…. guess there is room to still improve and make this work better.
This will be my last Art Camp post. I do have my two sewn pieces that I haven’t written about yet. Though there are a few more not exciting things, I do want to add these two to my record.
Saturday towards the end of the day I decided to try and sew a piece as there was a pattern in Connie’s samples that I liked. So to make it easier on myself I snapped a couple pictures with my phone, went over and sat down, and started to sew. I’m glad now I have the sample to compare what I ended up doing.
So with a bit of a start in class and then working all evening after supper on my sewing, I had it ready to drop in the indigo dye bath. The picture below is of the actual sewing done but still working on drawing up all the gathers as tightly as possible. Wish I did have a picture of the tiny little package it became. But alas and alack.
Now what I had done with this piece is make tiny little stitches on the first row. Guess I’m used to that. Connie saw it and was amazed at my stitches but said it really needed to be bigger. So we decided that I would double the stitches on each row. So I had two rows together of the tiny stitches and then twice as large, then space, and doubled the size again. Hmmm… I wasn’t liking these bigger stitches as well though it was a lot faster. So I did the 3rd and 4th rows the same size. After it was gathered up into almost a tiny ball it went into the indigo the next morning. And then again, and again, and again, and who knows in the end how many times but it was dunked all day long. So by the end of class, I was eager to unwrap it. Wow! I loved it and Connie did as well. That always makes you feel better about a piece when the teacher likes it. Thanks to Susan Antrican who sent me this picture as it is better than any I could get.
I then sewed another piece to try some over-dying of osage orange with the indigo to get a green. I made up a pattern on the top that sort of copied what I’d seen another classmate do. Then tried another of Connie’s patterns that I didn’t get a picture of but I can assure you I did the stitches way too small and it would have been much better larger. Then in the middle I folded it over and did a very loose, sort of leaf pattern with big stitches. Now I wish I had taken more care in that part but will save it to try again. Will make the idea work better next time.
So when done I let it sit in the bran/water bath a bit and then let it down into the osage orange bath. Since I hate the color yellow, this was hard to do and look at, but I knew the end product would be much the better for it. There’s a lesson there for life. So anyway, it came out of the osage orange and went into the indigo bath and came out pretty good. I do wish I had dunked it one more time in the indigo as I did love the wet color better than the dry color but all in all it has a very earthy look and feel.
Now to continue my fun at home. Getting ready to do another sewn pattern and see what I can get.
Ok, so on day two of Art Camp Connie had an extra bonus for us. Yes, there was a Cochineal bath (as well as an Osage Orange dye bath but that is later). Now, if one of your favorite books is A Perfect Red, and hence you are madly in love with the word Cochineal let alone the dye, can you imagine my excitement to actually get to dye with it? Such a deep lovely color in the dye pot. I could stand and look in that pot all day. We had a bit of a time getting it going as the hot plates didn’t heat up. But then after trying an iron in the outlet, we discovered that it was dead. Actually, the gals ironing and heating water in electric kettles learned that all the outlets on that side of the room were gone. So we shifted the table to the other side and got it going. The gal working there got the privilege of calling and learning where the breaker box was for that room and how to get us back on that side of the room but that only helped the irons at that point. We had hot water and dye going on the other side.
I don’t remember in what order I decided to dye things. I’m sure I just threw something in because I had to see that color. But to start with I did pleat up a long piece of cotton Connie had given us. I then put a block on it and dropped it in. As we were all wanting to drop something in that tiny kettle we were limited on time so after about 20 minutes it came out. Undid it and hung it up. Drying. UGHHH. Rather a dull pink. Not very interesting at all. Hmmm… I then decided to over-dye it in the indigo. But what to do. I folded all my pleats back in and looked at it. Knew I needed to keep with them. Then decided to tie it onto a pole. It fit just around the big one. I then tied it on in sections with no scrunching. In it went to the indigo bath. Out it came. Drying again. OOOH! I liked it so much better. So you see, a good dye can cover a multitude of sins.
I like what a classmate said of this piece. It made her think of a roll of film and the fading images. Fading memories.
I did drop my two silk pieces in the cochineal. I folded one up into a small packet of flag folds and a block. It came out mostly white with red about the edges of the folds. Not a winner but not too awful. The other – well I don’t remember what I did with it. I can tell I folded it in fourths the long way and short way. But I don’t remember what I did for the design element beyond that. Ohhh… Maybe something is surfacing from those fading memories. I think maybe this is a piece I just rolled up then tied twine around it and just dropped it in. Nothing fancy. Boy, now that I look at it more, I am being amazed at it. I didn’t have much time there to marvel at it as it was the end of the day these were unwrapped but now. I may have to try that again.
But no we are not done there. One thing I found interesting though not over exciting was with three pieces that just went in the pot as is. One was cotton and came out fairly light in color. One was silk noil and boy does it show what a wonder cochineal was to the world when brought back to Europe. And one was in between. Now I don’t believe all these were in the pot for the same amount of time though it wasn’t too far off. But look at the different shades of pink and red. One could really have a time of exploring every shade out of that pot. Then go and drop some acid in and totally change it and keep on going.
So what more did I do? I did drop in one small skein of yarn I had brought. Wool it was. I didn’t get a great picture of it to show the shade well but I do like the little thing and it will be added to my zoom loom project.
I didn’t get around to ironing my big piece till after dark yesterday and as there isn’t good light in this house for pictures, I was lazy and waited till this morning to post again. Excuses I know. I need to get away from them. Note to self – Remember INDUSTRY.
The dyeing continued on. (Have you ever tried to keep track of your spellings of dying and dyeing? So changes the meaning in a sentence. Don’t we love all the borrowing that English has done to give us such fun words!)
I did another pole wrapped piece with my large cloth. I included a sample picture of pole wrapping this time. Here is the PVC pipe to which the cloth is taped. Then the twine is wrapped around it with constant scrunching up for effect. You can see this piece has been scrunched up once and then there is more wraps waiting to be scrunched.
This cloth is anything but a stiff cloth and so loves to just go where it pleased. This I worked to my advantage and as I wrapped it, I let it just twist and scrunch at will. Didn’t try to keep it straight at all. It also was too wide for the pole so had folded it in half to the center so that the dye is strongest down the middle and lighter on the edges giving it a wide border. (Boy, another fun word. Almost had someone staying with me instead of an edge to my fabric.) You can tell in the picture that as I wrapped it, the more it went off kilter and thus more vertical lines towards the bottom.
Next, I had the bar towel that I wanted to try and so had to hurry with it – so I felt. (So much to try in so little time.) Connie had some beautiful ones with sharp shapes on them that I admired, so off I went. Do need more practice at getting a sharp edge to my shapes (more clamps?). But I did have a thought guiding this one. She had two … well I forget what she called the shape but as soon as I saw them I saw lightening bolts. Then the commas looked like they could be rain drops. Well after clamping them I decided it needed something else (over kill?) so also added the half circles. So we have a storm at night – lightening, rain, and the moon out as well. Ok, a strange storm, but a storm none the less. I think this came to me as small things can excite me, and I remember the first time I recognized a contributor in Handwoven magazine. It was a towel by Connie that was a pattern from South America and had to do with thunder and lightening. It was exciting to think, “I know her!”
Then the poor wash cloth. This one’s best claim is that it was dyed in indigo so fun, but alas and alack, nothing to brag about. Again, I need to improve clamping for better definition. And though the picture is a bit fuzzy, I decided it really wouldn’t look much better if I went and retook it. The edges inside the cloth are fuzzy. Though it was fun, and I think in a setting where you weren’t competing for space with others, it would be much better. But once again, a good practice piece.
The wash cloth and bar towel do take up dye quite easily. Neither were dumped more than a couple of times, if I remember right. So again more times in a bath would give them even a better and deeper shade of blue. You know, I came home with dye …. hmmm … they may get dunked again. I can see possibilities and another dunking, or half dozen dunkings won’t make them look worse.
One thing we could do was bring things from home to dye. So I had brought some zoom loom squares that I had made with handspun yarn that had been dyed by a friend in osage orange. It was a very light coloring to them, and not really liking the color yellow, decided that maybe we would see if we overdyed them, they would come out green.
These two squares I wove at camp. You see, in the evenings we sit around and talk and work on small projects. While making one square with the zoom loom, a gal in my class got to wondering if you could weave two squares together instead of having to connect them afterwards (by sewing or crocheting etc.). Hmmm… the wheels went turning and I had to take up the gauntlet and see if it was possible. The funny bit of this is that I’ve made many, many squares and can do plain weave in my sleep. Or so I thought. Alas being half brain dead after busy days, and late at night, I had an awful time trying to get that forth row woven. I had missed the right pins on the third row then had done an extra row. After way too long, with even getting the booklet out, I finally found what I was doing wrong and did manage to weave the two together. I made one plain weave and the other a pattern so they stand out better. The suggestion was two different colored squares, but as I only had the one yarn, I thought pattern could do the job. I make it work! You have to cut your yarn for the whole square at the beginning, and as I didn’t want to weave the whole length in on the second round, I cut it in half and then made a russian join to continue. It worked. I don’t know if I’m the first to try this or not, but I showed to another gal that does lots of zoom loom squares, and she was impressed with the idea as well.
So the last sample for today is my squares I dyed. I strung them on twine and dunked them a couple of times in the dye bath. You can easily see that the osage orange was not that strong of a color as the squares didn’t turn out green. But they aren’t just a strong indigo blue either. They are a lovely dusty blue so the yellow did have a small affect on them.
I have been dying to take an indigo dye class from Connie for quite some time but every time she had one, I had something else get in the way. What was a girl to do? Especially after she moves a few hours west.
This past weekend was CHT Art Camp. it becomes a busy weekend with arriving at the 4H center in Brownwood, Texas Friday afternoon and not stopping till you get home Monday afternoon. And guess what was one of the workshops? Connie and indigo dyeing. Two days of dyeing. Was I ever excited. Signed up. Even got a scholarship from CHT for the workshop so now have several “pass it on” projects in the works.
We began with a talk on indigo dye and getting the dye bath going. Ohhhhh, that lovely blue mess in a bucket. And yes, we even got to smell it. I would have thought that without the one old ingredient being used any more, it wouldn’t smell so much. But I guess even the cleaner chemical version still has that smell that lets you know why dyers lived on the outskirts of towns in history.
We first dunked in our butcher’s twine to get our feet wet. I think I only did one dip with this as I was still feeling my way along in the whole process. (maybe a bit too excited as well to think clearly) So with indigo you don’t let it just soak and soak to get deeper color. You have to dunk your fiber and wait about 5 minutes, then take it out and let it oxidize for at least 15 minutes or more and then keep on dunking till it is darker than you want as when it dries it will be lighter in color than the wet look.
My next attempt was at pole wrapping. For this we had two different sizes of PVC pipe that you wrapped you cloth around. Then you took twine and wrapped it around and around and around and around and … with after every few times scruntching it up to the top till it was all wrapped and scrunched up tight. Then you dunked it in the bath. Again I think this was only dunked once though maybe twice. Actually maybe more but I can’t remember. When I unwrapped it I wasn’t too happy with it as it didn’t look like some of the others (who had more experience dyeing than myself). No distinct lines but fading in and out. But then another classmate, who has been to Japan and played with indigo there, came by and said she liked it. It had a very Japanese zen quality about it. Amazing how a word can change your feelings about a piece. Maybe it wasn’t so ugly after all.
So then I took a long strip and tried another idea. Once again somewhat copying what I’d seen another classmate do. I folded this piece in fourths down the length and then in the middle folded it so that their were six sections that had triangles clamped over it. Then the two ends I flag folded. The folds were such that the two outside edges were outside in the bath. Hence darker color there. I did like this piece though it should have been in the bath a few more times. But then tomorrow will come and it will fall down in the list of favorites.
After that I lead the way in another suggestion. Using painter’s tape for a resist on a cloth. I chose my canvas piece and put tape on both sides working hard at lining it up. It only got one bath as some of the tape started coming off. But all in all an interesting idea. Not a favorite but interesting. Alas, the others who followed suit had stunning pieces. But you have to have the one that leads the way so the others can improve on it.
This was not the end of the journey. In fact this was barely the beginning. Connie gave us packs of different cloths to dye. Nothing fancy as she wanted us to experiement and have fun. If we had, say a scarf, then we would be worried about ruining the scarf and may not go as far as we would if we didn’t think of the piece as a special item. Needless to say we did experiment, and I ended the first day starting my first sewn piece. But that is for another time. Also we had good surprises the second day. A three for one on our workshop. That will come hopefully tomorrow.