Tag Archives: linen

wondering in white

White.  Is it a color? If black is the absence of color (darkness) then is white (light)  the combination of all colors in the visible spectrum? As a dyer, this is interesting to me.  White is often my canvas when dyeing and dyeing something black takes a whole lot of colors mixed together.  Strange.

As a dyer with an eye towards using what is around and available I have collected lots of old cloth that can be dyed. But are they white?  Many are what I would call a natural white. They are what they are-ivory, cream, white, eggshell,off-white, antique white, snow white, pearl white, bleached white etc…

detail white

Many of you who have taken indigo classes from me recently have received materials kits containing a whole variety of great old fabrics-all natural and of course dyeable in indigo. It’s informative to look at the structure of old fabrics. This cloth that was formally the fabric of people’s  lives. Literally- laces, tablecloths, clothing, bed coverings, kitchen towels, even mosquito netting and more. Each type of cloth reveals more about itself when dyed in the vat-it’s thickness, weave, age, and even stains that dye differently from the whole cloth.  Next to each other, they can form an amazing array of beautiful blues or whites.

But what if they were left as they are?  Left to use in other ways, to stitch together new dreams and aspirations? That is what I see going on in Jude’s new class What If Diaries. Definitely not a craftsy class where everything is laid out for you to make or do according to the plan, but a way to explore much deeper. The class is now sold out but she has others of a similar nature to explore. I like that the cloth is explored more deeply- that students not only connect themselves to the fabrics, the stitches, but that there is always a stream of consciousness floating in the background as a jumping off point to some new or even old idea. It’s kind of like what I imagine the beginning of the universe to be-  sort of like a primordial soup of creation.

battenburgold battenburg lace- in process

And speaking of creation- last weekend at the JANM (Japanese American National Museum) we had a really grand time. I took a whole silk display and we even reeled silk on the old zakuri. The students were in awe as most had never seen this before. The ingeniousness of the device AND that of the silkworm and it’s cocoon. I don’t think they’ll ever take silk for granted again!

reeling silkstudent reeling silk on the old zakuri

And of course we dyed silk- new and old. Itajime was the focus and this was a quick pic of their first pieces of the day.  After this, I got too busy to take photos-as usual. Many left class and went straight out to the front desk to sign up for the Aug 31-Sept 1 class.  

Saturday, August 31, 2013

12:00 PM—4:30 PM

Indigo and Shibori Techniques with Shibori Girl

events/shibori2.jpegIn this 2-day workshop we will focus our intentions on practicing itajime (fold and clamp) shibori on recycled kimono lining silks. Once considered as precious as gold, old silks are being discarded at an alarming rate! Let’s breathe new life into them and improve our understanding of both silk and itajime shibori. Indigo and colorhue dyes will be used in this workshop. Both days: $70 members; $90 non-members, an additional $45 materials fee (cash only) will be collected at the beginning of class, admission is included. RSVP early, 20 students max.
So, if you are in the mood for some cloth that really moves you-cloth containing texture as a main component, fragments like scattered thoughts across time and place, imperfection seen as perfection, then click on over to the shop and see what’s old.
And if you think you want to join the JANM workshop in Aug. you might want to sign up early.


more indigo practice

First, a little business and a reminder that my new class at Joggles starts Feb. 18. If you are signed up for the class, you will receive a supply list email one week prior ( Feb.11). I’m considering trying out a few new interactive ideas with this class. What if once a week for the five weeks I set aside an additional 30-45 minutes to take a few 5-10 minute Skype calls from students? We could make appointments through the forums. I don’t know- it could be fun. Kind of like the teacher having office hours. You could show me your work and ask me questions via video conference. Of course this assumes your computer has isight or a camera.
Just a thought. Well, I simply have way too much to do right now but wanted to remind you about the class- go ahead, sign up and learn some techniques for creating some beautiful silk fabrics with Colorhue dyes. Colorhue is simple to use but does have it’s limitations in regards to making certain colors. The techniques you will learn can be applied to any dyeset of your choice.

I’ll leave you with some indigo I worked on today. All of this is already spoken for but in time there will be more posted in the etsy shop.

anticipation of blue

i’m out of words for today-images will have to suffice. unless of course you have a question or comment.

Houston Quilt Festival

Wow! What a week- although it’s been more than two since I last posted here.

I won’t belabor the issue but will say the show was a great success on various levels.
Some of the highlights included:

My shibori techniques workshop was a pleasure- overfilled actually and although the main complaint seemed to be that the room was too cold – I was too busy and didn’t even notice it! The other complaint I heard from a couple of gals was that it was hard to follow some of the demos I was doing while they were stitching up their makinui, makiage, and orinui samples. I wanted them to get in as much as possible in their 3 hours and so was demo-ing up front and walking around with samples as I dyed them to get more ideas in front of them for the next stage of the workshop. 3 hours is an awfully short time to cover shibori but my idea is to expose the participants to a variety of possibilities and let them take it from there. In general though everyone was very pleased and many of them came down to visit me in the booth to tell me how much they enjoyed the class and how accessible I had made shibori dying. Perfect!
I will work on making it even better next time.

Despite getting stuck on the 59 North coming in to the show on Thursday (a 20 minute drive turned into an hour and 10 minutes due to a major accident) I arrived for my lecture a mere 10 minutes before it was to start. Yikes! And the wrong equipment had been delivered for the slideshow- the attendant quickly rectified that ( Quilts Inc Ed staff is fantastic!) and I spread my samples out and started talking. Phew! I felt a bit scattered but was told it didn’t show- you know me, I can talk quite a while about shibori… but what I really wanted to get across was the idea that we have so much to learn from traditional crafts people that can be translated into our contemporary works and that although it takes a bit of effort to make these connections with international artisans it is so much easier now with the internet and all that we have access to these days. Of course I shared many stories of the trip to Japan and the artisans we met – the hour was almost up before we got to the slideshow. I have more I would like to do with this topic and am letting it brew and steep in my mind….

Many thanks to Katrina for covering my booth that morning while I made my way down after the lecture and also while I dashed off to do a “meet the teachers ” presentation on the show floor for 30 minutes that same morning.
(thanks Katrina!!)

Another highlight was that I got to meet my FB friend Elaine Lipson! Now how fun is that? She is a writer and book editor for Interweave Press and the instigator of Slow Cloth- having come out of the natural foods industry and writing on the slow foods movement there. You might know her as the writer behind her blog, Red Thread Studio. We had a great dinner at one of my regular Houston stops The Black Labrador and were able to include Katrina Walker (who teaches sewing with silk) and my friend Jennifer from Atlanta who is known for globe trotting in search of fabulous textiles and trims. Quite an inspired evening!

We also had a little “mini-reunion” of our Japan tour group. There were 7 of us attending the show and what fun to see their faces again! Shouting out here to June, Maggie, Brenda , Mary Alice (and crew), Helen, & Katrina- let’s do it again sometime!!

I know this is turning into a rather long post but here I sit Saturday morning with HEAPS of work ahead of me (thank goodness!) and the possibility of getting back to do another post over the next week rather dim. So this may be it for a while and before these thoughts fade into the past I best get them out now.

Crazy quilters are getting into the action with my ribbons and Barbara from Roses on the Water made some lovely things with the shibori ribbon she picked up at the show. Crazy Quilters Online Magazine will also feature an article on my ribbon and shibori work in the next issue (online only) that comes out tomorrow or Monday I’m told. Thanks Julie!
One of my favorite crazy quilt teachers, Julie Craig, is also carrying the ribbon in her shop- Attic Heirlooms. She doesn’t have a website but is located in Wichita KS at:

2129 S Lark CT
Wichita, KS 67209-1252(Wichita, KS Metro Area)
Phone: (316) 265-4646

I also made a little “splurge” purchase at Carola Pfau’s textile booth which was all too conveniently located a mere 3 booths away down the aisle. She has some delicious hand spun and hand woven linen (eastern european and pre WW2). It’s about 22″ wide and I bought a 2 yard piece to do an indigo wall panel- hope I don’t mess it up! It should suck up that indigo like crazy!
I also bought a nice little haori that had an intriguing shibori pattern in indigo on it. All creamy silk jacquard with a touch of indigo makiage motifs capped off from the ground fabric. The makiage motifs even have some kanoko designs in the centers. I love makiage and its possibilities!

I included the label image which is from the Daimaru Kyoto “depato” . It has a rich history and actually started off as a kimono textile and dry goods shop in 1717. The Japanese have a long history of retailing and they are famous for their department stores.
According to one online source:
“Daimaru is one of the most eminent department stores in Japan. Osaka has two branches of this department store; one is in; Shinsaibashi and another one is in Namba.The history of Daimaru traces back to O-Mojiya, a dry goods story in Kyoto which was established by Shimomura Hikoemon Masahiro in 1717.The name ‘Daimaru’ was first used to name to store in Nagoya called Daimaruya and it was inaugurated in 1728. Daimaru was the greatest retailer in Japan for many years in the 1960s.”
I have no idea of the age of this piece but it must be fairly recent (mid 1940’s-1970’s).
I could keep going but must get to work now- the musicians are all out touring and I have the place to myself for the week!!

Upcoming events are posted on my Facebook fan page too- join up if you like! Click on the “events” tab at the top.

Forgot to mention- the quilt exhibits were great too- you can see some of them here. For video tours of the show- go here!