Under the catalpa tree out back

There is the dye station.  The pounded dirt and blue tarp over D’s mini-ramp make the whole scene look a little trashy.  Please do not notice the coffee mug and English muffin on the dye table – I know this is a bad practice!!!  But lately, almost every day in fact, I find myself feeling odd, and then remembering that I haven’t eaten anything and rustling up a quick bite, but without really taking a break, and sometimes STILL forgetting to eat (I wish this were true AFTER dinner, when I seem to want to eat all the way until bedtime).  So, yes, I need a little side table for food and drinks.  That’s my neighbor, Laura, who has graciously offered her time here and there and her talent as my intern.

So far the best thing we did together was to throw out four huge bags of fabric.  I craigslisted a Curb Alert, and after a few pickers, someone came and took it all away.  Didn’t get rained on, and if a passing dog decided to mark, it would have hit the plastic bags.

Speaking of dogs, this morning Jack marked a porcelain toilet that was on the curb and left a nice, tangy yellow pool in the discarded bowl!!  Made me laugh.  Made me tip the thing up to drain it out!

This flour sack (I’ve posted about it before) was my husband’s grandmother’s out in Wyoming, where they lived in the mining town of Rock Springs.  I have a lot more of this left that will NOT be dyed.
This was a piece of prepared-for-dye silk that I wish I had dunked one or two more times.  It has faded more since this picture.

one dunk

after two dunks

lacrosse balls inside of cotton

I was surprised to see that one of the chemicals in the dye vat stripped the T-shirt of its original yellow/green color (the thiourea dioxide perhaps – which I notice is packaged by Dharma Trading as a ‘color remover’).
Laura got to make something for herself, too.
The rope line is turning blue in places, not surprisingly.

This vat, by the way, is my first exercise in the Shibori Girl Studio, Indigo Dye Workshop.  I used pre-reduced indigo crystals in the “Quick Vat” recipe.  I have yet to read on rinsing or fixing processes, but am having lots of fun dunking cloth into the bucket.

One of the side benefits of this exercise, is that it gets me outside…
The very first day, back in the beginning of the month, while setting up the station, thunder rolled on in.  A much needed pounding rain materialized and I couldn’t help but feel like the indigo gods were moved by our conjuring!

12 thoughts on “Under the catalpa tree out back

  1. Chloe

    Lovely post! I’m so intrigued by this dye process and have been reading about it on the Dharma Trading website. It must be so thrilling pulling the cloth out of its’ bindings! Have a lovely weekend 🙂

  2. Michelle in NYC

    Yay for Indigo! It’s so easy and so darn satisfying. I had to stop myself from turning everything blue when I got my first Dharma Trading Kit…it’s all in one, everything included.

    1. deedeemallon

      thanks, Karen! it is so great to be noodling around outdoors at this time of year, that I almost don’t care WHAT I’m doing!

  3. ali

    I really like the semi-dipped long-sleeved shirt–beautiful! Also, I hope you’ll show us the unwrapped lacrosse ball fabric. Lovely blues.

    1. deedeemallon

      I will show the ‘blue balls’ series unwrapped… the result is wonderful, but I have to learn about fixing/heat/rinsing before I press…. the balls leave a big pooch, so I do have to understand this a little first!

  4. bertcollections

    LOL about the eating on the run. I’m sure most sewing days I make a cup of tea in the morning, almost drink it and reheat it several times and still have a mouthful left at dinner time. Must just be having too much fun 🙂

    1. deedeemallon

      Bert — It is nice that the reason is that I’m having too much fun! You’re right about that.

      And, Deb – it’s hard to stop, isn’t it?! I am even beginning to like the tangy smell of the fabric post-dipping.

  5. debgorr

    I was the same way with the first indigo, well really any time I get started, it’s just so magical. Looking forward to seeing what else you do.

  6. saskia

    wow! the results are amazing. I like your set-up in the garden, nothing wrong with a little trashiness I say. The fun you’re having is evident, makes me want to start more dyeing pots with new found plants and weeds, perhaps next weekend.Oh and I read over at Jude’s that your son has returned safely guess you’re feeling happy….

  7. constanza

    what a great post. the photo of the rain coming down on the cloths remind me of japanese film. i love this color and will give it a try.


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