Took a couple of days near the cooling beach with Phil and Trev to get away from the daily doings. Shore leave as it is sometimes called…
shore leave sunset
Brought this along. Maybe it is a traveling cloth, even if only a mind traveler. Stitching on it again with the surf pounding in front of me, I wonder about our connection to water. A morning shoreline fisherman pulls up a silvery fish. I imagine he is fishing for moons and stars.
The indigo seed is born of water, nourished by water, dissolved in water. The silk thread I am stitching with is connected to that water as well. The mulberry leaf received its water in the form of rain, the cocoon, the sericin softened and reeled with the aid of water. The early fisherman carries his silvery catch away as others arrive, and we move on. Here is a memory from another trip this way. moons, tides, memories
The Houston show is on the horizon ahead of me. I am working towards that. In addition, there is a two day workshop at the JANM. There are other things too. Too much really. People who want last minute orders will wait until I return. What can you do? I stopped posting on social media for a week. Just needed a break from it. FB and all its crazy politics with the election is disruptive. I guess the most I will say about all that is go and vote. Be prepared to take responsibility for what and who you vote for. The show in Houston is the weekend pre-ceeding the election. Always a difficult and uncertain time for people. I plan to make my booth as beautiful and peaceful as possible. Come. Hang out. Get inspired. Working with your hands is good. Booth 1921.
80+ silk mandalas forded for the workshop. have to do this ahead for them as there is not enough time and space for a whole class to do their own.
they will practice on paper and go away with the instruction sheet.
apricot tree in bloom is confused with our 106 degree weather.
Our hot spell has subsided now and both myself and perhaps the apricot tree are feeling a little less crazy. I could not work well outside during those days. Hence all the mandala folding and other workshop kit making after sunset.
bright spot in the garden-I think he liked the hot weather!
Gosh, has it been that long? The first quilt Journey started here. Further photos from the wayback time machine here on Flickr. And it has been a journey that has developed into an Odyssey. Journey was the original mooncloth.
Sometimes it’s funny to go back and read an old post. Notice how some things change and others remain the same. Like how I am still not a quilter. Blogging for over 10 years now and there are so many posts I still enjoy going back and re-reading- as a reminder. Others not so much- but still a good reminder.
In a much more recent post, I showed you how I was binding the edge of the test mooncloth Under One Moon in a little video. A couple of pics of the semi-finished piece:
under one moon
This was sent off as a gift with a hope of continuing. Some thread and a needle included.
Continuing on with the larger one I’m calling Odyssey, I’m realizing how much I like the feel and drape of this cloth in my hands as I stitch on it. And right now as I head towards Quilt Festival I also realize that about 90%+ of the fabric I see there is not fabric that I would want to hand quilt with. Of course quilting began with the reuse of scraps from clothing and household textiles that lived previous lives and had a softness built into them. Fabrics now are made for machines with tight weaves, bright colors, and slick finishes. This makes them harder to push a needle through by hand. And less desirable to hand quilters. I don’t know how others feel about this but I will be noticing next month at the festival and wondering about it more.
I hope I can get this one finished in time. Or near to-at least in a way that it can be continued on the road. Late afternoon light… Seems it’s a Nine patch. Just turned out that way.
And in workshop news… the upcoming indigo workshop at the Japanese American National Museum is going to be a little different. We will be making some small fermentation vats that folks can take home and continue with. We will also be using the pre-reduced indigo and doing more shibori. Perhaps you want to explore doing some more detailed stitched shibori on larger cloth?
Recently, in the workshop at the Japanese American National Museum one of the participants brought some fabric that she had dyed in another workshop somewhere. It had faded radically and even more so along the folds and creases. She wanted to know what had happened.
This is something that also came up a couple of times in the online indigo workshop and was struggled with over there. Occasionally, I have seen it in my own indigo dyed pieces and strive to do those things which I find help to alleviate the problem.
As far as I have been able to understand, and the experiences I have had with this type of fading have led me to the following understandings. Please feel free to jump in here and correct , inform and add to our knowledge on this for other folks as well.
-fading of the fabric along exposed areas and folds where the cloth is exposed to air and or humidity. I have even seen fade lines on indigo cloth that I have hung (flat) to dry outside overnight that had a bit of a sway in the hung cloth. It seemed that in this case the overnight humidity was the over-riding factor.
three shades from the fermentation vat ready to assemble into the cloth packs for the shop
What is happening?
– ozone in the atmosphere is reacting to the cloth and any chemicals left in the fabric and additionally with UV light to produce an oxidizing effect. Smog and humidity also figure into the mix even in cloth that is well washed out.
At first, I thought that only fabrics dyed in a chemical vat or a pre-reduced indigo vat were susceptible to this. Not true. They may be MORE prone to it but fermentation vat dyed indigo is also affected.
What to do to minimize this?
– wash out your fabrics well before dyeing to remove any chemical treatments.
-build up your depth of shade over many dips in the vat. Have a light vat and a dark vat to produce various shades of blue through repeated dips and really work the dye into the cloth.
-rinse your indigo dyed cloth well between dips into the vat and then finally wash them well with a good rinse in the end. You may have seen photos of Japanese dyers planting their indigo dyed cloths along a river or stream to let the water run through- this would definitely do it! Getting out any chemicals that can react to the ozone is beneficial.
-once dried and ready for storage until use, you can keep your indigo cloth in a drawer or wrapped in a towel to keep the edges from fading.
Finished pieces (such as a quilt on a bed, a pillow, a wall hanging) will fade more evenly and possibly without notice as they are more evenly exposed to the atmosphere. All indigo will fade with use (think denim). Well dyed dark shades built up by many dips seem less susceptible. This is one reason I prefer the fermentation vat over the pre-reduced or chemical vat-more work but a more satisfying process and result. Also, be aware that different fabrics will fade differently. Think about the weave and the fiber.
There are even products out now for commercial dye houses that speed indigo fading (ozone finishing!) with the use of ozone related treatments said to be less labor and water intensive. Consulting companies work with manufacturers to troubleshoot their process and diminish the fading (or even speed it up!).
What if it’s not a problem at all? It’s a matter of perspective.
because we all exist under one moon,
because we all see the moon from our own perspective,
because it is a time traveler, a wave maker, a truth teller, a light giver.
-may its peaceful countenance shine in all the darkest corners
discharged moon-am i adding to or taking away? a moon divided or one finding ways to hold together? wondering…
it’s an old moon. we all become old moons eventually.
I am dyeing more indigo cloth, more moons, more threads to hold things together. I am stitching indigo mooncloths in the evenings and in-between times.