Thursday, November 1, 2012

Feeling Blue- Indigo Dyeing and Spirit Rattles

Created with sea shells collected from Aruba
 While researching cameras, my dryer died. It was only three years old. No fun. Good news is I have my sewing machine back and I did not have to sell my first born. Still haven't bought the new camera so I'm using my son's tiny  Olympus and am finding the colors not quite true so bear with me.

I have had a love affair with indigo for as long as I can remember. I think I was in junior high school when I learned a little of its history. I learned more about the dark side of indigo from Merry Silber. I encourage you to read the Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories interview that I conducted of her and see her wonderful indigo quilt. She was a collector. She died not long ago.

Anyway, I had been meaning to try indigo dyeing for years and decided that there was not better time than now. Dyeing with indigo is a little different than regular dyeing. There is a "flower" on top of the dye that must be preserved. It's removed during the dyeing process and replaced once you're done. The vat of dye can last 2-3 days and you have to have a lid. You can't let the fabric sink to the bottom which meant holding the fabric in the vat. A tad boring to say the least but it was so much fun watching the fabric turn from green to blue (takes about 20 minutes). It is also important to prevent oxygen from getting into the dye which means squeezing the fabric bundles. I was successful most of the time. I do know that next time I am going to be better prepared (have all my folding and rubber banding done ahead of time. That said, I try to strike when the spirit moves me and I am not disappointed. Now I have about 2.5 yards of fabric in various sizes ready to use in my next indigo quilts! I used both PFD (prepared for dyeing) cotton and dupioni silk.
dupioni silk folded, small piece of wood rubber banded around the bundle

I am becoming a better potter. Still not great on the wheel but I am improving. I can't believe there is only two more classes left. Next session does not start until January. I think I will suffer some withdrawal! As I shared before, I love hand building and here is a couple of my Spirit Rattles. The white one has been bisque fired and is ready for glazing. The blue one is ready and waiting for a new home.


  1. The blue one needs a new home?! Well, if you have too many you can always distribute them to the AIC gang :-) Love, love, love your indigo fabrics!

    1. Linda, Love ya! Who knows maybe a Spirit Rattle will makes it way to you. Thanks for loving my indigo fabrics. Hugs.

  2. Your indigo fabrics are magical in themselves. How beautiful!?! I think I need a Spirit Rattle to summon up whatever it is that can move me into the next creative place in my life.

    1. Diane, You are so wonderful. You made my day! Where do you want to go next with your creative journey? Hugs.


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