Category Archives: DO IT YOURSELF

NATURAL DYE KITS

June 9, 2016

 

I just discovered the Natural Dye Kits website today and I’m loving every single element of this kit (and its packaging). If you are into it, check out their FAQ page that contains answers to some of the most common indigo dyeing questions. I am also getting ready to try my hand at growing Indigo and found these seeds (also from Graham Keegan).

$42 here

 

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ITAJIME SUPPLIES

January 24, 2016

 

Remember this post? Well, I just discovered All Things Acrylic, another shop specializing in itajime supplies! The coolest part of this shop is that they offer custom shapes and sizes. Also, if you are in NYC, check out Canal Plastics. I frequent them for all sorts of custom acrylic supplies (including dowels for Arashi shibori).

 

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IMAGE SOURCE: All Things Acrylic

SHIBORI TOOLS

December 1, 2015

 
 

I have been receiving several messages asking where to buy Shibori tools similar to my vintage ones from this post. You will be happy to know that I found some for sale over at Slow Fiber Studios (bobbins, hooks, and stands). You can buy them here. Also, while you are visiting, check out their selection of pre-stitched scarves that are prepared for dyeing.

 
 
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R0SSIE: ITAJIME SUPPLIES

June 8, 2015

 

In this post, I shared my new found love for plexiglass. For those who are interested, r0ssie is a shop I discovered on ETSY specializing in itajime supplies. She practices itajime when dying or bleaching her fabric for her modern quilts. This is an ideal resource for people that live in a city without a plastic shop.

 

SHOP, BLOG
 

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UNCONVENTIONAL RESISTANCE TOOLS FOR INDIGO DYEING

May 17, 2015

 

Lately I have been experimenting with some unconventional dyeing tools (tape, plastic wrap, plastic, etc). Some things work and others definitely do not. Here is a rundown of what I have discovered (purely my opinion). Hopefully this will help to inspire other textile artists.

 

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PROS: Spring and C-clamps can provide a good amount of tension and work fairly well for keeping dye from seeping under your resistance blocks.

CONS: Always make sure to clean your clamps extremely well after use. Even if you rinse them after the dye bath, they can still hold some Indigo on their surface weeks later. This is a bummer, especially when you learn the hard way (clamping them to fresh white fabric during your next dye session). Another con is that they can be very bulky, heavy, and hard to fit in a small dye vat. Due to their weight, they will sink to the bottom of the vat if left unattended (where all the sediment collects). I recommend holding (and dunking) them into the dye.

 

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PROS: These are essential for Arashi shibori (pole-wrapping shibori). I have found success with all kinds of dowels (PVC pipe, wooden dowels, and metal pipe). If you properly clean them, you can reuse them forever. A big pro for this tool is that you can often use something you already have around your home (a broom handle, pluming remnants, an old curtain rod…you get the picture :) Another pro is that you get dramatically different results depending on the circumference of the dowel.

CONS: Do not use any wooden dowels that have been previously stained, as the stain color can transfer onto your fabric when it gets wet.

 

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Thread has become my favorite tool (although it is more conventional, I still want to address it). You can do amazing things with thread. You can hand stitch patterns with it, hold pleats together, or use it for cinching the cloth. The gauge also makes a huge difference in the resulting pattern.

WHAT TO USE:

  • waxed cord: resists dye and never breaks, you can pull this with all your might. Stick to a natural color because the dyed wax cords can transfer color onto your fabric.
  • sewing thread: I prefer the “heavy duty” thread, which is strong and gives great results. As above, stick to a white or natural color to avoid color crocking onto your fabric.
  • waxed dental floss: This is great because it’s cheap, easy to control and knots well. Just remember to use a needle with a larger eye if you decide to sew with this option.

AVOID:

  • embroidery floss: The cotton based version soaks up a lot of dye and I wouldn’t use it again.
  • leather cord: I do not recommend this if it is a tanned or dyed leather due to possible color transfer.
  • clear thread, similar to fishing line: ok, but not great and a little hard to control (a bit slippery / my knots wouldn’t hold).

 

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PROS: I haven’t had any success with this yet, but I am eager to experiment with “furniture wrap”, which was recommended to me.

CONS: With standard kitchen plastic wrap: the harder I pulled, the more it ripped, exposing the cloth underneath. If you do get a nice seal and hold it together (with rubber bands, thread, etc.) the dye still seems to seep in.

 

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This medium is tricky because it must be waterproof & you never want to use a tape that would leave sticky residue on your cloth.

WHAT TO USE:

  • I have only had success so far with plumber’s tape (but there isn’t very much to a roll and it can be a bit fussy with folding onto itself).

AVOID:

  • clear packing tape: it will just float away in the dye vat.
  • duct tape: it leaves a sticky residue on your fabric.
  • iron-on hem tape: sounded like a good idea to me…it wasn’t.
  • electrical tape: floats away.

UNCLEAR:

    • floral tape (not sure how it will work).

 

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PROS: These work fairly well to apply pressure on woodblocks or sticks, keeping them from shifting (this would be for Itajime shibori: a shaped-resist technique).  The key is to use more than you think to ensure a tight seal. You can also use them to hold a folded fabric bundle into place without the use of woodblocks. Rubber bands are also great for making small pinches in fabric, creating the classic burst design you often see. Another pro is that they come in so many sizes and thicknesses. I love the different effects you can get just by using a thicker rubber band.

CONS: If you use the same rubber bands over and over again, the indigo can stick to the surface and rub off onto your new fabric. They can also break easily and when they pop, it hurts!

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT IF YOU HAVE A FAVORITE DYEING TOOL

HAPPY DYEING !

image credits: all from Home Depot, except the threads, which are from Tandy Leather 

 

ONLINE WORKSHOPS

May 7, 2015

 

I have been investigating online Shibori workshops this week and wanted to share what I have found thus far. These three seem to be the best options (from what I could find).

 

1). “BASIC SHIBORI DYEING WITH INDIGO” by Shibori.com.au (trailer here). The class is $55 and their website notes that this class, “offers easy to follow steps for 10 techniques including Itajime, Kumo, Stripes, Arashi and more!” I like that this course teaches three types of Shibori for one price. I haven’t taken it, but it looks like a good option.

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2). “FOLDING AND CLAMPING TECHNIQUES & TYING TECHNIQUES” by Madesmith Academy. These are two separate classes, each are $49. I actually took the folding and clamping class and it teaches you tortoiseshell, square, circle, and lattice techniques. The instructions are clear and precise / a good tutorial for Shibori first timers.

 

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3). “LET’S DYE WITH INDIGO” by Shibori Girl ($75). Okay, this class looks amazing. It covers everything from starting and maintaining your Indigo vat to itajime and stitched Shibori. It also provides .PDF documents for future reference. I may check this one out.

 

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PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT IF YOU KNOW OF ANY OTHER OPTIONS OUT THERE

INDIGO DYE KITS!

February 4, 2015

If you want to get into Indigo dyeing, but you are already feeling overwhelmed by the process, I suggest buying a natural Indigo dye kit. They are perfect for beginners (all supplies and instructions are included). Here are the beauties I have discovered so far. Do you know of a good kit that’s missing? Leave a comment!

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1. NOON DESIGN STUDIO: Indigo Dye Kits – Shibori Wrapper  $42

-What you get: natural Indigo dye & auxiliaries- including fructose, sugar made from fruits, and food grade calcium hydroxide, also known as lime, used for pickling, instructions along with some shibori ideas for making patterns, 10 rubber bands, 1 pair of biodegradable latex gloves

-Enough to make a 4 gallon Vat

-Made in Los Angeles, USA

*takeaway: this is the only kit I found online that uses auxiliaries made from fructose. It also comes wrapped in an Indigo dyed cloth*

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2. YELLOW OWL WORKSHOP: Indigo Blue Textile Kit $30

-What you get: Indigo Blue textile ink in dripless applicator, 1 scarf, gloves, & instructions (for tie-dye, shibori dye, vat dye, and resist dye techniques, as well as painting and stamping techniques)

-Unclear how much this will dye, but you can purchase refills on their site

-Made in San Fransisco, USA

*takeaway: no mixing required & cleaner than all other indigo kits I have seen. Also, the graphic design is divine*

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3. EARTHUES: Indigo Starter Natural Dye Kit $45

-What you get: Indigo, hide glue, reducing and alkali agent, pH indicator strips, mask, gloves, & instructions (does not include sodium hydroxide)

-Enough make a 32 ounce jar of indigo stock, which is typically enough for a couple of vats

-Made in Seattle, USA

*takeaway: this kit is the only one I have seen that provides pH strips and allows the user to make an Indigo stock*

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4. DHARMA TRADING CO: Indigo Dye Kit $8.49

-What you get: 20gm pre-reduced Indigo, 50gm Thiox, 100gm soda ash, rubber bands, wood blocks and sticks, gloves, a brief history of Indigo dyeing, & instructions

-Enough to make a 4 gallon Vat

-Made in California, USA

*takeaway: love that this comes with blocks and it’s so affordable!*

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5. MAIWA: Natural Indigo Kit $19.95 (CAN)

-What you get: 100gm natural Indigo, 100gm Thiox, 100gm lye, & instructions

-doesn’t note how much this will make

-Made in Canada

*takeaway: this company is full of great resources. Check out their “artisan supply” shop.

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MADESMITH

January 26, 2015

I highly recommend checking out the Madesmith Blog today, which features an article, “Shibori: A Brief History.” It describes various Shibori techniques, as well as its origins and history. My favorite quote from this post follows, “Indeed, it is a traditional form of art, a cultural heritage of the world, but many fear that these western adaptations will change the meaning of the art. However, it is these adaptations to contemporary methods that will keep the art and culture of Shibori alive, and keep the traditions ongoing, whether they are experimented by big designers, young artists, or curious people who are just willing to learn.” This is EXACTLY how I feel about this art form and I am so glad they expressed this sentiment in today’s post.

Read the post here 

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Madesmith Academy also offers 2 courses on Shibori, “Shibori: 5 Tying Techniques” and “Shibori: 4 Folding and Clamping Techniques.”

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