On this warm day we met to once again experiment with our indigo pot. There were seven of us: Phyllis, Sandy, Sharolene, Ann, Anne, Natalie, and Laura.
Ann’s shawl on the left was originally bright pink until it was dipped into the indigo pot. And her shirt on the right was bound into pleats with rubber bands at the neck and the hem for a decorative resist when in went into the pot.
Natalie, one of our new members, is also learning to spin on a wheel that has a history and is in need of some tweaking. Several of us helped her determine that there was a bit of a wobble when the wheel went round but we think she can make an easy fix.
She was also able to experiment with a simple resist pattern dipped into the indigo pot.
Laura was our guest who has been fascinated to learn more about indigo. She changed some items in her wardrobe from white to rich indigo blue.
We experimented with immersing items in the dyepot for a longer period of time versus repeated dips to see if there was a color difference. There did not appear to be but we will see if the color fades less in the one we left in the pot longer.
We also discussed ways to connect with others like Natalie and Laura who might like to share in our adventures with spinning, dyeing, and weaving. A very nice day!
Ann, Phyllis, Sandy & Marcia looking on their handiwork.
Food Safe Dyed Eggs
This meeting was our pre-Easter one where we decorate eggs in some manner. This year, we decided to dye them with food dyes (as described below). We got a great bunch of colors that were mixed according to Martha Stewart’s instructions from her website. Attending the meeting were: Ann, Phyllis, Sandy, Marsha (pictured), Frank (taking the picture) and Sharolene.
The eggs we dyed were colored with beets, red cabbage, turmeric, onion skins and coffee. The pale ones are blue and lavender. The dark colors were boiled for 30 minutes and the light ones were raw eggs soaked in the dye for 30 minutes. The ones we consistently turned were scratched and the ones we left alone came out nicer. We all agreed that it was a lot of work and a fair amount of wasted food but we learned some interesting things. Next year we are using the colors we liked the best and designing the eggs with leaves and wrapping them with color: Hint to all, If you ever have an occasion to cook red cabbage put a couple of white eggs in the pot at the same time and see what a pretty color you get. Then you can eat them.
We had a lovely small meeting with Phyllis, Marcia, Sandy, Lotus and Sharolene. Sandy tried the new method of heating up our indigo bath with an aquarium heater and pump, however it didn’t heat up the water fast enough for our purposes. Therefore we are purchasing an electric hot plate to boil water to pour around the indigo bath instead.
The meeting consisted of us working on our kumihimo lanyards for CNCH. Sandy showed us a very nice pattern that is easy to weave which makes large braids that will be easy on the neck of whomever wears it.
Sharolene’s pebble weave card weaving
Sandy’s new marudai. 26″ tall, 10″ mirror
Sandy’s Friendship Blanket. She just finished crocheting the connections.
Back Row: Roberta Gaynor, Marge Pustorino, Linda Stinchfield, Pat Martin, Chris Wallace, Carol Lewis Front Row: Marcia Kehr, Barbie Paulsen, Margaret More, Mary Flynn (Marge’s twin) , Phyllis Karsten.
Marge Pustorino – Mary Ann Ostrander
Margaret More – Four O’ Clock
Mary Flynn -Small Blooming Leaf
Rhonda Nelson – Snail Trail & Cat Paws
Chris Wallace – Sun Moon and Stars
Dee Dumont – Large Blooming Leaf
Marcia Kehr – Johann Speck #33
Barbie Paulson – Kings Flowers
Linda Stinchfield – Chariot Wheels
Phyllis Karsten – Phyllis’s Fancy
Patricia Martin – Snowballs
Carol Lewis – Morning Star
Roberta Gaynor – was not able to do the weaving
We had our usual indigo dye pot and a cochineal dye pot as well. (Cochineal comes from a small beetle that lives on cactus pads!) We are also making kumihimo lanyards for the Conference of California Handweavers (CNCH) meeting in 2018. Here are some photos of some of our efforts. Of course, Phyllis’s dog Flicka had to take a look too.
We learned kumihimo braiding. Kumihimo is a traditional Japanese technique of braiding to create intricately colored cords. The cords are strong but slender, and have a multitude of uses. Samurai once used kumihimo as laces for their armor.
We had a great, unexpectedly large number of members who showed at this meeting. We had an indigo pot and Sandy, Sharolene and Marcia did shibori folded indigo dyed shirts.
Sharolene’s shibori indigo dyed shirt.
Sandy’s Indigo Shibori Dyed Shirt
We met, as usual, in Phyllis’s back yard on one of the hottest afternoons of the year. We came prepared with fibers and fabrics that had earlier been soaked in an alum solution (called a mordant in fabric talk). There are various elements that can mordant fiber. All help the dyes fix to the fabric and often affect the kind of color the dyes provide. Alum is a safe and easy-to-use mordant.
We are always interested in learning what we can about using natural dyes produced by plant and animal products as opposed to dyes created in a chemical lab. People have used these dyes for thousands of years to provide color in there fabric and sometimes even to paint their bodies. (We are sticking to just the fabrics.) Today we are using osage orange (Maclura pomifera) twigs and cochineal (Dactylopius coccus) produced by tiny bugs that live on cactus plants. We will also use some indigo (a plant dye that produces blue) on some of our fibers after they have been dyed yellow or red.
Anni introduced us to the wide range of colors that can be produced by natural dyes.
We then set to work with our own fibers. Here are some of the results of our day of dyeing.