Tag Archives: mawata

new work and nightmares…

i had a dream…

i’m at houston and starting my indigo workshop only to realize i had forgotten the indigo. i woke up and realized that it had only been a dream (thankfully!!).  i fell back asleep and had another dream. this time i opened up my freezer and found it full of water (i should mention that this is where i store the indigo). i just got up and made coffee at that point.

this is how i get before a show.  a little crazy.

the other day i spent some time cleaning cocoons for the mawata class.  i am pre-cleaning them for the class (removing the pupae)-seems the practical thing to do considering the class is full and the time restrictions. we will demonstrate the process but will concentrate on making the mawata and even spinning a bit of silk yarn and needle felting some.  made a few mawata too-practicing.

not bad.

i was a little bummed out last week when i had to cut my Quilt  Festival booth back from the full booth i had ordered to a half booth due to finances-but we do what we have to and i’ll make it work.  so if you can’t find me at the booth printed in the directory-which i think was already printed, look for me in booth 1329, my new booth #. or, just look for silky shibori goodness and indigo.

that is all, over and out!

p.s. when you write a post in WP these days it shows you a list of recommended tags (which i rarely use as they don’t really pertain).  one of the recommended tags for this post is “post traumatic stress”. ha! just thought that was funny.  carry on.

Stumbling around

I’ve been meaning to do a little post about this for a week or so now. Ribbon dyeing has kept me at the dyepot and the flower sewing table.

Here is how it ended (badly):

a mess- and a waste

It started by my wondering why I needed to peel the cocoons before cooking them to soften the sericin before making mawata.  The silkworms spin a loose hammock of silk in which to suspend the cocoons and each cocoon has a beautiful halo (kibisu) of this silk.  Seemed a waste to peel it off.  Why not just leave it and add to the mawata?  Sometimes wondering leads you astray as it did here.

After cooking the cocoons, they became hopelessly tangled with each other and when trying to separate them they proved impossible.  I soaked them longer, I spun some of it directly from the water (interesting) but in the end most was relegated to the compost pile.

So I learned that yes, peeling the cocoons is best when making mawata.  Most people are not facing this issue as they are buying commercial cocoons where the outer silk has already been mechanically removed. Live and learn.

It did lead me to wonder about wet spinning directly from cocoons though…

Update on the silkmoths-

There are a few still here but most are gone and I have been collecting and storing eggs for next year.

And, I have been peeling the cocoons and using the silk as batting for the shibori leaves and flowers.

And a new flower style-

the very industrious silkworm

So today was the big day. Time to stifle the cocoons.  I know- some of you are squeamish about this so perhaps you want to click away to the kittens right NOW!

Turns out I have about 800 cocoons-actually 794 to be precise. Since I didn’t order the eggs but used my own from the last rearing I wasn’t sure.  I guessed around 1000.  Not a bad guess as you lose a few along the way.

794 cocoons

There are a preponderance of yellow cocoons so apparently most of the eggs were from the reverse silkworms.  This year, I separated out a few of the best cocoons into two separate boxes for mating  purposes in case I want to do this again next year in a more controlled manner.  Last year it was pretty much an inter-racial silk moth sex party.

cocoon detail

I also saved out a few cocoons for more fresh reeling.  I need to get to these tomorrow before they emerge.

So, continuing on, it was time to stifle the cocoons so they can be stored and used later.  I used Michael Cook’s instructions as before for this which involves drying them out in a low oven over a couple of drying sessions.  A little toast (no, not that kind) was made in their honor (coffee, mind you as it was morning) and the drying is in progress.

Just so you know, once the moths emerge, they will live for about 10 days (they do not eat during this time as they have no system for this) mating and laying eggs (female only of course) and then they die.  Left to their own, the eggs will hatch (500 per female!!) and if not fed they too will die.  So it’s a service they do for us- to create cocoons which then we can harvest and use.  If you want some eggs, let me know.

Also , I have been playing with the cocoons a bit-

white cocoon flower

Also, the pocket squares for the London wedding are completed and ready to ship tomorrow, the mandala class is now tying their mandalas, and other orders accumulated while I was away are ready to ship out.  I had to catch up on a little indigo today as well and I have to say the fermentation vat is just stellar right now.

wearing many hats …and colors

To order solid shade hand dyed indigo cotton, go here.

For other indigo items, try here. I just restocked some of the items.

Next up on the “to do” list- making silk shibori ribbon, silk reeling, and mawata making practice, and of course indigo dyeing on some really great fabrics I brought back with me to try.

dinner break…

a break right now between wrapping poles and discharging on my way to overdyeing and steaming. had to come in to check the inventory for colorways and make some decisions on what was going to get dyed what color in the overdye stage and what was going to be discharged (or not). this decision is based on me eyeing the ribbon and scarves on hand and making a list based on what i feel my “eye” is missing, what i think will sell at the show…blah blah blah. it’s a crap shoot basically but i do like to see a nice well rounded selection. basically, there is a person for every color i dye and part of the best part is seeing who chooses what color and helping them decide if they do in fact want help (many do!). often colors i personally love are the last to sell but that’s been true of the things i make and sell for a very long time. i try to think outside myself and also think about what moods and feelings the different colors and their combinations evoke as well as how they appear visually-which is of course how we take in this information in the first place. sorry, rambling a bit.
interestingly, there has been a conversation going on here that went in an interesting direction and reminded me that i DO in fact make to sell but with other intentions as well.

on another front (there are many), the following piece of silk (an 18 x 90″ scarf) will be going to one of the video subscribers as a gift. to qualify, subscribers who leave a comment on the video page will have their name thrown into a hat (once for each week they leave a comment) and at the end of the month i will pull one name out to receive this piece. it is just a sample of something that was done on the video- a shared quickie technique using the colorhue dyes. it’s not pleated but could be.
this piece feels pretty strong-stormy almost.

also, as promised- a few quick clips of last year’s Silk Study Tour. sorry, don’t have time to do a formal edit on the clips-just too much to do. but you get the idea. on this day we were with the Tama Silk Life 21 group at the Metropolitan Research Institute. we spend the full day there and everyone gets to try their hand at everything from reeling, spinning and making silk caps and mawata. both classes exampling what we learned here are sold out at the Houston show. i will be assisting in one of them.

some traveling money will be required so i restocked the shop with some indigo boro packs (selected indigo fabrics for a new stash of them last night) and as soon as i get some more ribbon scrap bags organized i will be putting them in the shop as well. be ready, they always disappear quickly! might also offer a scarf or two-as soon as i get the beads sewn on…
back to work, it’s gonna be a long night.