I have been Shibori-ing up a storm – not just because it’s my new favorite crafty technique, but because I couldn’t keep the products in my Etsy store! (Ahem, #humblebrag.)
I’m not complaining, though.
After an experimental phase (documented in part in this post) through the spring and summer, I learned some really cool folding patterns that dyed up beautifully. Unfortunately, the finished results wouldn’t work for what I had planned. You see, I had been looking for ways to make my own unique cotton fabric for the cotton pouches I sell at BohoQuest, but the shibori patterns were too big. They wouldn’t translate into the small drawstring bags.
Then I had the brainstorm that the large geometric patterns might work on something else. Something that could hold – nay, that required a bigger pattern. Something home decor-y.
And that dovetails nicely with the running theme of my blog – that unexpected results can lead to unexpected victories! Sometimes you just have to let go of your plan and embrace the journey your craft has for you.
Every where you turn, little cacti are showing up on reception tables, home stores, in commercials and marketing photography…(guilty!). You don’t have to live in the desert to be barraged with the little buggers. Last weekend, I left a theatre fundraiser with a couple of good sized succulents. Used as table centerpieces, I couldn’t believe my luck that a pinkish one lasted through clean-up. I got to take it home, along with another green little orphan.
I just love the way color comes through succulents. The teals and pinks and greens are so unique and specific to desert flora. I don’t have any dye powders that match the subtle hues, but I was still inspired by them as I indulged in my weekly dye session.
I tied a cotton baby tee shirt and a cotton jersey baby onesie with the classic sunburst style and experimented with procion dyes. The pinkish mottled effect was acheived with ice-dying while the rest of the colors were dipped or squirted on. I didn’t acheive quite the same colors as the potted inspiration, but I’m still very pleased with the results. (Both are now listed over at my etsy store: BlitheStarBaby, btw).
I’ve turned my humble studio into something of a fabric dying lab this week, as I’ve been consumed by testing shibori fabric folding techniques. I’ve found some styles I really dig and will continue to use in future projects.
But I’ve found some others that I am just not sure how to use in my work.
For example, the Triangle fold:
I do like the pattern, it’s really neat. But I hadn’t expected for the pattern to be so very wide and there is so much white space. I’m not sure how I would use this medium weight cotton dyed like this. I typically sew little clutches and pouches, and the pattern is too “large” to translate to those projects. Maybe I could make a shoe bag or a little pillow cover?
Same with the second test. It’s so pretty, but not a good fit for the kind of smaller projects I like to sew. In future, I’ll 1) dye the white cotton a light base color and 2) make the folds smaller to create a pattern with a tighter repeat that would work for my pouches and clutches.
Now here’s the start of something I really like:
I was a little hestitant about how and where to put the dye on this style, but it seems that the fold really does most of the work. I can see how it would be possible to make smaller versions and use them in little bags, or make larger mandalas for wall hangings, pillow covers, even bedspreads. This is one of those experiments that was a delightful surprise. It was really gratifying to see colors dance like a prism in this technique. I forsee using this style a lot – just for the fun of seeing how it turns out.
And finally, here is one I have plans for:
The way I attempted to get this look was really annoying to do – I used a million rubber bands around a cheap vase, which was easier going on than coming off. I ended up very wet and dye splattered, which was not my favorite. However, I totally dig the end result and I know how I’ll do it more easily next time. (Just use twine like the Shibori professionals do, dummy!) I plan to use this technique as a base for applique or for stamping/painting words and images. I kept the palette simple so that an image painted on top will really pop. We shall see…perhaps as soon as the next blog post!