Beaufort workshop & indigo

Over dyeing with indigo

Today, Janine and I would have driven down to Beaufort, NC, a small town just next to Morehead City. It’s really just over the big bridge, actually. The workshop topic was “continued studies” with indigo and shibori, basically. This time, we just didn’t have enough applicants, so we have postponed until spring. Right now, it looks like May, which would be a perfect time for soft breezes and pieces on an outdoor clothesline.

In the meantime, I’m continuing with my indigo explorations. The scarves I sell are a part of that process, but lately, I am intrigued with how the pigment reacts with silk noil. So, I’m working on a series that integrates shibori patterns and of course, indigo. I love the nubby, loose weave of the fabric when I stitch on it. It takes the dye well, except for the “problem’ of wicking. It’s also a thick fabric, which I didn’t really expect and that also presents challenges. There’s always some ‘engineering’ aspect that I didn’t anticipate. One of my concerns is that fading may also be an issue – that the dye may be more fugitive on this fabric than say, linen, for example. I may have seen it in an earlier piece and it either faded or I didn’t dip it for as long as I should have. I have a feeling though, that it’s the latter. It means I should do some test pieces.

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2 Responses to “Beaufort workshop & indigo”

  1. glennis Says:

    I would imagine that winter there has taken a bit of a toll on people’s desire to get out and take a class so postponing it sounds like a good thing.

    I’m interested to hear your thoughts on silk noil. In my working with it and indigo, I have found that it seems to fade more than many other fabrics. My guess (and that’s exactly what it is) is that it’s nubby quality allows for more surface area on which the fading can occur. Additionally, I’ve never been able to get the noil to accept the indigo as readily as something like cotton, hemp, linen or bamboo. My guess here is that perhaps since noil is made from waste silk and may be more tightly twisted fibers the indigo does not penetrate as well. I know that it takes more time to wet out than other fabrics as well.
    I like that you experience the same sorts of “engineering” aspects as I do.
    By the way, I just ordered some silk noil gauze instead of the heavier silk noil I have used before. I’m thinking it might be an answer to at least some of these issues. (lighter weight, more open weave…) I could send you a sample cut to play with if you like…once I receive the order.

    • Susan Says:

      I have to agree about winter’s effect and I’m willing to wait for warmer weather.

      I really appreciate your comments about silk noil and indigo and I agree wholeheartedly. Interesting that it has those characteristics. I want to see, though, just how fast it fades and I think I’m going to do some little comparison studies. It would be worth it just to see that happening. I’ve got some pieces I dyed back in ’06 in Rowland Ricketts class that still are amazingly deep. He had some wonderful handwoven cloth (cotton, I think) from China and it had the most wonderful texture. I still can’t believe my first pieces were done on something like that. Anyway, I keep thinking about that fabric…

      I appreciate your offer on the silk, very tempting, but I’ve got some shopping to do as well and I’ll add it to my list! In the meantime, when you get around to working with that noil gauze, I’d be very interested in your reaction to how it ‘behaves.’

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