Thursday, 14 July 2016

everything is turning blue

Well, not quite everything, but now that I have my very own indigo vat (see my last post), I do seem to be looking around for things to dye blue!

Yesterday afternoon it was nice and sunny so after work I got myself set up for an outdoors indigo session. I had spotted a traycloth and a small tablecloth which were not as white as they used to be. The tablecloth has a beautiful hand crocheted lace edging which must have taken someone hours and hours of work. So, into the indigo vat with them.
Two white linen tops were also lined up for a dip (or four), and I had prepared them for shibori.

Of course I had barely got started dipping when the heavens opened and I had to clap a lid on the vat and bring everything inside! Once I had changed my clothes (I was soaked through in the time it took to rescue everything) I carried on in a rather more cramped, but dry, space.

Ori nui is the Japanese name for the pattern on the shirt - created by folding the fabric and then stitching a line of running stitch close to the fold. Once a series of folds have ben stitched the threads are pulled up as tightly as possible and tied off. Then it is ready for the vat.
Michel taught us that three short dips should be the minimum, with a couple of rinses in cold water between to oxidise the indigo. I gave the shirt and the tunic three short dips followed by one longer (3 or four minutes) dip in the vat.
Then I hung them up to drip overnight before taking out the shibori stitching to fully air the fabric.
Parts of this pattern look a bit like dental x-rays!

The tunic was patterned by clamping. The traditional Japanese technique called Itajime involves folding the fabric and clamping between boards. For my tunic, I folded the body and the two sleeves into accordion-style pleats and 'clamped' them with pairs of clothes pegs set on alternate sides of the folded fabric. It used a lot of pegs!
This one was quite tricky to dip and impossible to squeeze out between dips and rinses.
Removing the pegs is quick and reveals the pattern.

I now have a lot of blue clothes pegs, which I will not be using to peg out my laundry!