Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Two Kinds of Blue

Cotton t-shirt, still wet
The first kind of blue: Indigo. Indigo is a dye taken from the fiber of the indigo plant.  I am taking an on-line class from Shibori Girl. The class covers different ways of setting up dye vats, and then various dyeing techniques.

 The t-shirt was done in the "sky fabric" technique: basically this involves wetting the fabric, scrunching the fabric into a ball and wrapping it with rubber bands or string, then immersing it in your dye vat for a while. After you take the fabric ball out you unroll it, rinse the fabric and start over again until you like the pattern or get tired. I have two indigo vats now: one full-strength and one half-strength. The
 t-shirt got two dips in the full-strength vat, and two dips in the half-strength vat, over a period of several days.

I'm using the beginner Indigo Dye Kit from Jacquard, but many class members are making vats from much more exotic materials. To my mind, the results from the full-strength vat are too dark. I think it is better to use a weaker dye vat and vary the colors by doing successive dips.

The scarf is done in itajime shibori, where blocks or shapes are clamped to form a resist to the dye.  First I clamped popsicle sticks on both sides of pleated fabric.  The stripes did not come out as clearly as I wanted.   For the second dip I folded the scarf in squares and then triangles.  Then I clamped wooden blocks over part of the triangles. That result was a little better than I got with the popsicle sticks, but I still have a lot of room for improvement. See Shibori Girl for more information.
Silk scarf with itajimi pattern
The second blue was my feelings about missing out, for the second time, on getting Comic-Con tickets online.  Analyzing my feelings, I realized I was feeling as if I had been betrayed. I realized that was silly.   An event or an experience is not a thing that can betray you, and going for twenty years doesn't give you any kind of priority in the ticket process. Comparing notes with those who got tickets and those who did not, it looks as if my using an older computer with an older browser may have held me back. So be it. Time to move on.

My hands may be blue from dyeing, but I won't let it get to my heart.

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