Sunday, April 20, 2008

Yesterday, the guild that I belong to -- South Coast Weavers and Spinners Guild -- had an all-day workshop on Indigo dyeing. It was held in the backyard of one of our members and John Pitblado from Los Angeles came down and taught the class. John was a great teacher and we all had the most fabulous time. Here are some of the participants getting their items ready to go into the dye bath.

Here is one of the "dye pots" that John has prepared. We had five dye vats going for most of the workshop. John had blank silk scarves and cotton muslin for the group to dye. Some people brought handspun yarn to dye also. The amazing thing about indigo is that when your piece comes out of the dyepot, it is green and as the oxygen hits the fabric it begins to oxidize and turns blue right before your eyes.

Here's a picture of the group hard at work over the dye vats which were basically tall plasctic kitchen trash cans. You can see that some items have already been dyed and are hanging on the clothesline.

Almost everyone used some sort of "resist" on their scarves and muslin. We used stones, pebbles, beads and buttons and tied them into the cloth with rubberbands and twine. Some people used clamps and clothespins. Where the tie or the clamp was very tight, the dye couldn't get to the cloth and white spots were left, so we got some very nice designs. Here are close ups of some of the pieces dyed.

Here are a couple pictures showing the array of creativity that was generated by this workshop. It was awesome to see how everyone did something different.

Here is some handspun yarn that I put into the dye vat. The yarn on the left is pygora; the yarn in the middle is a cormo/tussah silk blend, and the skein on the right is alpaca.

We look forward to getting John out to our guild again for another workshop in the future. He's a great teacher and really allowed everyone to just go in his/her own direction. We had the best time ever on a Saturday in Laguna!!

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