Gearing up for sewing up a storm once the weather gets cooler and I head indoors.
as i was posting these pictures i just imagined how beautiful an indigo filled clothesline would look in winter with snow all around. I was also hoping that the recipients of some of my gifts won't mind it being a somewhat blue christmas.
My new favorite color combo is indigo and grape. I am dyeing up a storm these last few weeks. My much neglected indigo vats just keep on giving and I am not one to ignore such a colorful offer. I hope to be offering some natural dyed items in my shop soon, like these organic cotton gauze scarves.
btw no one even came close to guessing the mystery dye stuff. It was slime mold ( neither a plant, nor an animal). Isn't that cool?
The weather, this first weekend of autumn in ontario was spectacular. Kind of wish I had been camping up in Algonquin Park. I decided to make good use and gather up lots of dyeing materials as part of my 100 m dyeing project. I like the busy squirrels who keep stealing my black walnuts out right out of the dye pot feel that frost isn't far off. I gathered black eyed susans, calendula, red sage, coreopsis, tansy, goldenrod, eucalyptus, sumac, a leaf from a garden plant I can't for the life of me remember the name of and something secret.
As you can imaging the outdoor laboratory was looking quite chaotic. I grabbed my white china pencil and started jotting down names and formulas right onto the table and some of the jars.
isn't the red sage bath lovely :)
I didn't want to change my lens so only part of the bench is shown in this picture.
The most exciting dye experiment of the weekend was to discover something that dyes fluorescent (almost) orange completely on its own. I wonder if anyone can guess what this might be. If you can I will send you a lovely little loot bag filled with natural dyed fabrics.
on silk noil
on wool felt
I also did more indigo and woad dyeing but will save that for another day.
I said I would share with you another property of this amazing dye. If you paint it on japanese washi paper with each consecutive layer the paper becomes more like fabric. I had bought some beautiful washi paper in toronto when geninne and sonia were visiting. I decided last weekend to try sewing a small case for some thread and a crochet hook of two. It also could hold my glasses. I then painted successive coats of kakishibu onto the surface. In all I think there were about four coats. It is very flexible now and so much softer than the original paper. I wish you could feel the difference.
those images are before the dye is applied.
my natural dyed crochet threads are very at home in that pouch.
In my very limited experience thus far with indigo I have found that it dyes carb based fibers ( like cotton, linen and hemp) better than protein based fibers ( like silk and wool) so I was really pleased with the result I got this past weekend with dyeing some 100% wool felt. You might remember the curious cylindrical pieces from this photo.
I have to admit when I unwrapped them I was completely taken with the imprint on the wood almost as much as the wool.
I like that those of you who visit my flickr stream were intrigued by the image of a brand new substance I got in the mail to play with. It is kakishibu. ( I am sure that really helped). It is a powder derived from fermented persimmons and is a traditional dye stuff from Japan that can be mixed and then painted on. I have read many a warning about its smell but after working with indigo and woad fermentation vats all summer I find its smell quite pleasant. I first mixed it to a good gel like consitency and was just playing around with it on that indigo dyed piece of bookhou fabric. I love the color as is but the amazing thing about this stuff is that it gets better with time. Most natural dyes are light sensitive and fade with time but they say this will darken and become richer with time. I find that really fascinating.
It also has other properties that I will show you on the next little experiment. ( maybe tomorrow).
thought the last days of summer was a very appropriate time to show you the last few pages of my summer nature journal. You might remember the journal itself was a gift from Sonia. I do hope she is truly enjoying here time away from the computer.
and i didn't add these to the journal because well they were too large for my small booklet and they still have a lovely seaweed scent :)