moon circling

The past few days have had me back at the indigo vats working on new sets of moons. The only vat of the three that didn’t need reviving was the fermentation vat, which had a nice coppery surface and was dyeing beautiful blues.
Cleaning up around the studio I found a couple of base cloths that I had dyed moons into and had set aside for myself to play with on a rainy day. Well, the rain never did come but I craved a little needle time so I threaded up and got to work. It was quiet peaceful work-just going along with it. I never plan them out ahead of time- just let the cloth take the lead.
I finished off the little moon cover for the buckwheat pillow that had been looking kinda shabby. It’s an envelope style so the cover can easily be removed. The back are two pieces of old sturdy kimono cloth. I love these things and much prefer them to any kind of foam pillow insert. They just have a great comforting feel.
Next I had an old feed sack that had a wonderful repair on it- I dyed a tattered moon over the repair. These are treasured and useful scraps, the scraps of our lives. As we work to put our heart and souls back together after this past year and a half, I’m feeling pretty tattered myself these days and stitching these blues seems to wash away some of the sorrows.
Circling of Moons can be considered a series of sorts. I have a number of them started around here in various stages of completion. Various moons, various cloth, but mostly indigo. The ones that aren’t indigo are natural dyes. I’m grateful for some of the stitching techniques I learned from Jude- especially what she calls the “glue stitch”. I use that extensively to stitch the frayed raw edge pieces to the base cloth. I fray them enough first so they won’t unravel more and stitch them down with these tiny stitches. You can barely see them and probably can’t in a photo. Later I add the running stitches with thicker thread to ask your eye to travel with me around the moons. I want you to meander and wonder as you look at these pieces. To take a little trip.
Someone recently said to me, ” I have a sewing machine but just don’t know where to start”. I say, start anywhere! Start with a needle in your hand- sit in your favorite chair or the kitchen table. Gather some bits of cloth- cut up old clothes- go to the secondhand store and get some old cotton cloth. (skip the poly!) No machine needed. You can always unstitch something if you really can’t live with it but just let things develop. YOU will develop with practice.
I also did a couple of short videos that were requested from participants in the recent tekumo workshop. One had to do with machine hemming using a hemming foot, and the other with wiring the edge of a hemmed silk piece. You can see them on the FB studio page by scrolling down a few posts.

Late last night I took a 2 hour zoom tour of a sericulture farm located in the Kofu Basin in the Yamanashi Prefecture of Japan. It was quite interesting. Probably the largest sericulture operation I’ve seen so far in Japan. He said they raise 160,000 cocoons at a time there and grow them from seed. Most of the sericulture farms now get the silkworms in the 3rd-4th instar from the local collective and raise them on mulberry from that point to cocooning. Here’s a few links for my “silky friends” to enjoy…


Silky moth friends at Ashizawa Sericulture
And speaking of circles, Circle of Silk is a lovely story of silk sericulture hanging by a thread.
And also, a video on silk thread reeling by my friend and sericulturist in Annaka, Nobue Higashi whom we visit with on the Silk Study Tour to Japan. Enjoy!

33 thoughts on “moon circling

    1. shiborigirl Post author

      mo- you might have seen this one before. i did it a while back but never put it into play. i enjou=yed the stories in my mind as i dyed and stitched this old tattered moon. by whom, where, why, was it repaired?

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    2. indigo2day

      Glennis you have the most incredible way with words that truly speak from your heart .I am so over the moon I found you . Your artwork has such meaning in every stitch ..be in touch and wonder says it all and means so much. Thank you so much for the great Tekumo Class 😉

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        1. indigo2day

          Hello , where can I find containers with the tops ,similar to what you are using?Also is that some form of mesh fabric hanging off the side ?

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        2. shiborigirl Post author

          If you are referring to the indigo vat, these are containers from my days in the porcelain studio but I’ve seen similar ones around from the food service industry. Check your local reuse markets online like Next Door, Facebook marketplace and LetGo.
          The netting I’m using is something I’m reusing from the garden. Used it to keep destructive moths off of veggies. I think I got it from the Japanese chain store Daiso if you have one around. They had them for a very reasonable price.

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    1. shiborigirl Post author

      nancy- the two i have were left here by Richard when trying to make room in his suitcase for the return trip to Japan (lucky me! he always travels with a buckwheat pillow!). they were getting a bit tattered so i fancied them up a bit. but i did just order 10# of buckwheat hulls to fill my own home sewn pillow cases with. I’ll put a zipper in them and make outer envelope covers like this one for them. this way, i can make them any size/shape i want. 2.5-3# pillows work for me. don’t overstuff them or they are too hard and won’t conform to your head/body.

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  1. Liz A

    I came here from Windthread, where Jude’s example was also invoked … such gifts she has given us all, including you! … your indigo moons make my heart happy whenever I see them, both here and on other blogs … best of all, those that have traveled to my home in Texas … thank you

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