Category Archives: woven shibori

Sampling Becoming Routine

Woven shibori sample on Monk’s Belt threading.

In over 32 years of weaving, I’ve never been one to do much sampling, but oh, how that has changed with woven shibori.  Perhaps with a lot more experience, I’ll be able to take a weave structure and have an idea of how it might turn out when woven using this technique, but right now it is so new to me that samples are becoming a way of life.  They will also be a very useful record of threading/treadling/probable results, aware that the dyeing results are also a bit of an unknown.  As in the sample above, the samples are being hand-hemmed and placed with record sheets in a notebook.  In addition, I can do samples first, decide which results I like, then weave the full-size pieces using those threading/treadling/spacing notes.  The results won’t be exactly the same due to the dyeing process as well as minor differences when gathering and tying, but overall, you have a good idea of what the final result might be.

Another sample on Monk’s Belt threading.

Each sample was treadled differently and had varying numbers of rows of plain weave between pattern rows.  Pattern rows are gathered and tied, in this case Monk’s Belt, so the closer together those rows are, the less dye is able to get between the gathered folds or pleats.  Pattern rows further apart allow more dye in.  So by varying the number of plain weave rows between each pattern row, you can have a bit of control in how light or dark a piece is (also keeping in mind the strength of the indigo you are using). 

Another sample on Monk’s Belt threading.

The second time indigo dyeing, I wanted to try to obtain lighter shades, as in this sample.  The original vat results were very dark, so after watching a video clip by Glennis Dolce, in which she was taking measured amount(s) from the original vat and adding to water to obtain lighter shades, I followed those same directions.  Taking 250 ml. from the original vat and adding it to 1000 ml. gave a result not too different from the original dark vat.  I then took another container and added 250 ml. from the original vat to 2000 ml. of water, which gave me a lighter shade of indigo.  Experimenting with these ratios and keeping careful notes is an area I will be continuing to explore, so when I have a particular shade in mind for a particular piece, I will have a good idea of how to achieve it, keeping the many variables in mind.

Woven shibori on twill threading.

This twill sample was dipped into the lightest indigo vat.

Another twill threading sample.

Monk’s Belt threading.

This sample had a one inch or so “gap” between pattern thread areas, allowing more dye to be absorbed, giving a “stripe” across the middle. 

Border scarf on Monk’s Belt threading.

The scarf was on the Monk’s Belt threading, and dipped twice into the dark (original) vat, and like the samples, finishing included hand-hemming.

I am busy weaving more scarves, and a sample of the treadling for each, to add to the notebook.  This Friday, after beaming a new warp, a friend and I will be at the indigo dyepots, so results should be on this blog next week, after everything has had time to dry, be hemmed, pressed, and photographed.

(Note, these photographs were taken outdoors on the lakeside porch, late afternoon, and as soon as I started clouds rolled in, so colors in the photos are not as “bright” as they really are.)

Baby (left) and Mom (right) porcupines.

Yes, they continue to return most nights, some days.  Discouraging them has not been successful.  Using a hot pepper sauce was suggested, but I hate the idea of doing that to the young one especially. 

Porcupine damage.

 can live with their chewing on the old salt lick wood stand out on the red pine, but I do object when they are chewing on my home.  This doorsill at entry to my home will need to be replaced, but I’m waiting until they stop visiting.  For now, there is a piece of metal hardware screening laid over the board, a piece of landscape timber holding it in place, and a rock in place to keep them from dislodging it.  After the board is replaced, it will be well-stained in hopes they won’t like the “taste.”  Sometimes life in the WI Northwoods can have its challenges!

Indigo Days

Woven shibori samples, Monk’s Belt threading.

My second time indigo dyeing included 3+ PFD cotton swatches, nine woven shibori samples (Twill, and Monk’s Belt), and one woven shibori scarf (border area of Monk’s Belt).  I’m using the cotton swatches basically to test color before dipping the handwoven pieces.  

This was my first attempt at achieving shades of indigo (photo above), and had some success and look forward to trying for more (and keeping accurate notes).

Scarf with woven shibori borders.

The last piece dyed this day was my first woven shibori scarf, woven to have a border at each end, and solid blue in-between.  After the first dip, I could see a couple areas where the dye he not penetrated through the cottolin threads, so it was given a second dip, leaving it a very dark blue.  The samples and scarf were rinsed many, many times; after nearly dry they were pressed and hand-hemmed. 

I had hoped to have more scarves woven and be on the porch dyeing again, but have been sick the past four days.  While sitting here, thought perhaps tomorrow I could at least dye a bit more PFD cotton (I’ll do something with those swatches someday), but a check of weather revealed the high will be 44 F.  So, three or so days of weaving, then more indigo dyeing Friday through Monday when warmer and sunny.

My 5 gal. indigo vat is parked in my kitchen on my woodburning range (not in use at present), and even with a lid on, I can smell the contents.  Hoping to move it out to the porch soon, but need the nights to warm up more.  Now, I need to start gathering supplies and begin learning shibori techniques, as well as how to get various mottled, cracked, and other effects on the cotton (non-shibori).  There are 28 yards here to use for learning.   

After a last snow/sleet/ice storm late Mother’s Day night, spring has finally arrived in the WI Northwoods.  Forsythia are in bloom, the lilac has leaves, and my apple tree, too.  Perennial herbs are emerging.  And with windows open at night, I am treated to a symphony of spring peepers, the whippoorwill singing, an owl hooting, coyotes howling, and a couple other unknown nocturnal birds calling occasionally.  And of course, the loons on the lake call to each other during the night.

My yard has turned into a porcupine hangout!  A few nights ago, about midnight, through an open window, I heard a sound I’d heard before, and it suddenly dawned on me what it was,… porcupines chewing on wood.  On my wood sawhorses on the porch!  Last fall they had done this and I’d laid the sawhorses up on their sides up on a long table, but I’d set them down again so I could do my dyeing on the lakeside porch.  Well, what could I do but shout, stomp, and herd them toward the steps and off the porch, then moving buckets aside, hoist the sawhorses up out of their reach.  Sorry, no photo.  But,…

Baby porcupine on the ground, mom trying to climb.

On the afternoon I started to not feel well, I looked out to see a porcupine on the old salt lick (hasn’t had salt on it for perhaps 15 years).  I grabbed my phone/camera and went out, and discovered there was also a baby underneath it!  Mom, in an effort to distract me, immediately tried to climb, bumping her head on the “roof” of the structure, and quickly discovered she could get around it,…

Mama porcupine climbing high.

… and climb much higher.  I snapped a couple photos and went back inside.  Perhaps an hour later, I looked out again,…

Baby porcupine, turn its back to me and raising its quills.

… and the baby was on the empty salt lick, mom was still up the tree.   After a couple more photos, I left them alone.  

As I write this tonight, it is raining, and looking outside,… there is a porcupine on the salt lick.   

My nighttime reading, “A Different Kind of Luxury, Japanese Lessons in Simple Living and Inner Abundance” by Andy Couturier (Stone Bridge Press).  The book profiles ten individuals living in old, mountainside homes, living simply, growing their food, practicing their arts, living intentional lives. 

Woven Shibori and First Indigo Dyeing

First attempt at indigo dyeing!

Perhaps four years ago or so I purchased “Woven Shibori,” by Catherine Ellis, and was fascinated by the both the technique and the results when dyed.  A year or so ago, I signed up for an online self-study class, “Let’s Dye with Indigo” by Glennis Dolce – Shibori Girl,  The class is set up with lessons on a blog, you work at your own pace, and there is also a student forum where you can post photos of your work, ask questions, and get answers.  I’d also picked up a couple books on the subject including “A Handbook of Indigo Dyeing” by Vivien Prideaux.  

Finally, a couple months ago I beamed an 8″ wide warp to weave samples, leaving it set up for the 10 shaft twill I had been weaving.  The warp and weft were Swedish 22/2 cottolin which I had on hand.  Needing something strong for the gathering threads, I used seine twine, having a couple partial tubes on my shelf.  I’ve never been able to break that  with my hands, so felt pretty sure it would not break during the gathering process.

The second cottolin warp was made 10″ in width, the loom was re-tied and threaded for Monk’s Belt, for a couple samples and two or three scarves.  Cottolin is not my first choice for scarves, but for experimenting with ideas, it is working fine.  I also expect as I go finer with threads, the results are going to change somewhat.

Not having a good indoor space for dyeing, and living where winter sometimes seems endless, I had to wait for decent weather to begin.  I finally set up yesterday for my first indigo dye attempt.

The outside temp was about 64 F., so I decided to set up on the lakeside porch and enjoy the sun and view (photo above).  I brought out all my supplies, and using the directions from Dharma Trading Co., mixed up my first indigo vat using Pre-Reduced Indigo, Thioureau Dioxide (Thiox), and Soda Ash.  (Follow the instructions carefully and use recommended safety precautions!) 

Pre-reduced indigo vat with “flower” forming on surface.

After mixing the vat, I waited a bit, expecting to see more “flower” on the top.  When that didn’t happen, I cut about 1/4 yard+ off a bolt of PFD cotton, cut it into thirds, and after soaking those pieces of cotton along with one woven shibori sample in water, wrung it out and lowered it into the vat.  Bringing it out, it was yellow-green, and as the indigo oxidized, turned a beautiful bright-dark indigo blue.  I dyed the other two cotton swatches, giving one a second dip for a darker navy color, then the woven shibori sample.  All were rinsed five times, and still blue was coming off in clear rinse water.

Woven shibori sample, tightly gathered, one dip in vat.

Freshly indigo dyed cotton swatches and woven shibori sample (on right).

I laid them over a drying rack, with plastic underneath to catch the drips, and let them start drying, later moving them inside over a floor heat vent.

Had I pulled the gathering threads tight enough on the woven shibori sample?  Did indigo penetrate all the way into those tight “pleats?”  Would I need to untie all the knots on those remaining samples and tighten those gathering threads even more?  I had to find out before dyeing the remaining nine samples and scarf. 

After cutting a few knots I started to gently open the pleats.

So mid-evening last night, I carefully clipped the tight knots along one edge of the sample.  I’d read the threads would not come out easily if the piece was still wet, which it was (not dripping wet, but not beginning to feel dry, either).  Now on this piece, I had started with four rows of plain weave between pattern (twill) rows, after a few inches had increased it to eight rows, and a few more inches later, increased to ten rows. 

Sample nearly half open, and changes visible.

In the area of four rows of plain weave and gathering threads close together, I could start to open it but it wasn’t easy.  I changed from small pointed scissors to a blunt needle to, thread by thread, ease the gathering threads out.  Further down, at eight rows of plain weave, the pleats opened easier, and at ten, easier yet.  Why had I woven the sample that way?  To see the effects of the indigo, to see what happened with the now elongated twill line, and to see what kind of effect the spacing of the gathering threads would have on how far in the indigo penetrated the pleats.

All gathering threads removed.

At four rows, you see the now steep twill line moving across the piece; at eight rows the movement has nearly stopped and there is a bit more light blue appearing; at 10 rows the vertical lines appear a bit wider and more blue penetrated into the pleats.

I rather like the few “irregularities” in it where short lines cross the long vertical lines.  I believe they are the result of a few areas where the pleats, when gathering, didn’t gather and line up exactly as all the rest, despite my attempts to fix them.   

So today, I will examine the other samples to see if I want to tighten anything up before dyeing them, particularly the Monk’s Belt, where the gathering threads are long floats with I believe ten rows of plain weave between each pattern row.  I expect, as in the  bottom of the above photo, more indigo will be work its way into the pleats. 

In a video in Lesson 1, Glennis demonstrates how to take amounts from the original vat, add to water, to get lighter shades of indigo, something I will also be experimenting with for these samples.  

I did notice on the plain weave on each end of this sample, with one dip, the indigo had not totally penetrated the threads, but I did not want it any darker.  Reducing the strength of color will allow me to dip the samples more than once.   

There is more warp to weave off, perhaps a couple scarves worth.  And now there are tubes of 16/2 Swedish cotton (from Glimakra USA) waiting, along with tubes of 20/2 cotton (from Lunatic Fringe), so a lot more weaving and dyeing coming up. It’s going to be a wonderful summer!

P.S.  Glennis Dolce is about to leave for Japan, leading a silk, indigo study tour, so if you contact her, please be patient! 

Spring Activites at the Studio


“Lammskinn” and “Skinnfeller.”

The second book I sent for, on working with sheepskins arrived, “Lammskinn.”  This is the book mentioned in a previous post that I’d seen in issue 1/2013 of VAV Magazine.  “Lammskinn” is in Swedish, and appears to focus more on items to wear.  “Skinnfeller” is in Norwegian, and is more functional items, along with the stamping done on the leather, an old art in Norway I am told.  I am just beginning to translate them, using Google Translate along with a little help when needed, when I need clarification or something doesn’t make sense.  I am doing this for my own learning.  Photos are wonderful, but I want information, too.  Why did I order these?  I wanted to know how sheepskins are stitched to woven coverlets, and though I could just put it together, I wanted to know how it is done in those countries where this type of coverlet is a long tradition.  Thankfully, “Lammskinn” has a couple photos with diagram of how to stitch the two together.  A lot to spend for that bit of information, yes, but there is so much more contained in these books and I want to learn.

First woven shibori scarf, in progress.

After weaving ten samples, most on the 10 shaft twill threading, and a couple on Monk’s Belt, I re-warped the loom with enough warp for two or three scarves, the photo above is of the first, in progress.  This will be a scarf with woven shibori border at each end. 

Scarf (far left) and ten samples, ready to be dyed.

On the left, above is the scarf with woven shibori border at each end, and the ten samples.  Such a tangle of threads!  Laying horizontally across the top is a sample with the gathering threads trimmed.  I want to be sure things are tight enough before trimming the rest as it will be easier to tighten and tie with the longer threads. 

Woven shibori is an interesting process, full of possibilities.  You weave with white, warp and weft, and the gathering thread.  Off the loom, you gather from one side, tie tightly, then gather and really tighten things up from the other side.  Most of the samples were 8″ wide at the reed, and the scarf was 10″ wide at the reed.  After gathering tightly, they are now perhaps 1 1/8″ to 1 1/4″ wide.

If all goes well, I hope to make up my first indigo dyepot tomorrow, and will test if the vat is working, and depth of color, with a small piece or two of PFD cotton, then try one of the woven samples.  After they are wet, and the first sample dyed, I will probably open it up to see if the tightened pattern threads kept the dye out, or not.  If not, I’ll have to open up and tighten all the threads on all the samples and scarf, then proceed.  I’ll be taking photos during the process, and of the results afterward. 

I kept hoping for spring and warmer temps, and late in April we did have a couple warm days, then it went back to cold, freezing rain, sleet, and even a bit of snow early in May.  Tomorrow should be 64 or so, warmer would be better, as I want to do the dyeing outside on the lakeside porch, close to water source, and stove, or hotplate or something if I need to warm the vat a bit.  Also, I can tie clothesline between the house, a pine tree, and a fence post to have a place to hang the samples and scarves.  I’d really prefer to not have indigo soaking into pine floors.

I had hoped to possibly start the dyeing this morning, but then the phone rang…  it was Wild Instincts (I am a rescue driver for them).  Could I go out and get a loon that had landed on a road?  Yes.  So put bin, bag with heavy gloves, etc. in the back of my vehicle and was on my way.  Arrived, no loon, no people, checked my phone, they had called back, the loon had been taken to an animal hospital, so turn around and head down the highway. 

I put the box the loon was in into my large bin as I didn’t want it deciding to try and escape or get injured further.  All was well until I reached Rhinelander when there was a fair amount of thumping going on in back.  I pulled off the road and sure enough, the loon had had enough and was trying to get out of the box.  No choice, but to put the lid on the bin (there are lots of airholes) for the last 10 minutes of the ride.  I’d left it off as I didn’t want the loon to overheat.  When I arrived and took the lid off, the loon was, of course, still in the bin, but no longer in the box!  An intern examined the loon and found scapes on the bottom of both feet and one “toe” was a bit split.  Injuries were sprayed with appropriate meds and it was determined the loon could be released right away.  So back into the bin, I drove the intern a mile or so down the road, and she was able to release the loon onto a now ice-free lake.  That was one happy loon!  The three photos below are from early this afternoon.  I’ve been doing this rescue driver work for perhaps twelve years, and this was the first time I was there to witness a release.  What a joy!

Common Loon, after treatment, back in bin for ride to a lake.
Wild Instincts intern releasing the loon at a northwoods lake.


The loon immediately swam away, and began diving.  A very happy ending!

Weaving Journey and Small Related Detours

“Skinnfeller” by Britt Solheim

I had written awhile back that I would like to weave a Norwegian coverlet, likely a small Christening size to start with, and one that would have sheepskin on the other side.  But how to do that?  About a year ago I posed that question on ScanWeave, and was told of a book that had been available at Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum.  I contacted them and was told they were out, and trying to get more.  In February I received an email and a phone call from them, the book had been reprinted and they had obtained copies, did I still want one?  Yes!  The book is very pricey, and written in Norwegian, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

So “Skinnfeller du kan lage selv” (Leather Traps You Can Make Yourself) by Britt Solheim.  The book seems to be about a type of bedcover that is tanned sheepskin that is also sewn with techniques that give flat seams, with designs printed on the tanned hide, not the woven type with sheepskin on the underside.  But since it is the sewing part I am interested in learning about, and the pleasant surprise that this type of cover would be a fascinating project, I am still happy with the purchase.  To that end, I have just started translating the book (for myself) using Google Translate, a dictionary, and two Facebook Friends in Norway who have offered to help me if translation doesn’t make sense or needs refining. 

If you Google “, then click on Translate Page, the website will come up in English.  Then, on the left, click on “Skinnfell blogg” and the blog will come up in English.  Enjoy!  (Added to the post Friday evening.)

And now while typing this, I just arranged to get another book, same or similar topic, that will be in Swedish. The newest VAV Magasine had an article, “Kalder Sheepskin,” pp. 36-37, and notes about a book “Lammskinn.” I had emailed the address given at the end of the article, twice, but no reply. When I mentioned that to one of the Norwegian FB Friends, she offered to order the book and have it sent to me.  So now I am looking forward to seeing that book, also, and then translating it as well. Never a dull moment!  I will post more about this book after it arrives.

Meanwhile, I am working on my woven shibori samples, and definitely need to pick up the pace.   And, a dye area still needs to be set up. My first deadline, May 1, is coming up fast, when Amy needs photos of the new work so our postcards can be printed and mailed out for our Aug. 10th Art Gypsy art show in Land O’ Lakes, WI. 

Woven shibori samples on the loom.

I hadn’t posted because at this point, these samples are still looking rather boring! These samples are Swedish cottolin, half-bleached, both warp and weft (plain weave). The pattern rows (twill, spaced out) Half-bleached cottolin with seine twine woven into the pattern rows.

Samples off the loom.

After being removed from the loom, the loops are cut, pulled very tightly from each side, and tied tightly, to prevent dye from penetrating into those areas which is what gives design on the finished pieces. The pattern threads are removed after dyeing.  Until they are dyed, they are not too exciting to see, but I am enjoying weaving them!

Sample after gathering.

Width in the reed is 8″ yet after being gathered (off the loom), it measures 1.5″ wide, and I think I should have pulled the threads even tighter.  Glennis Dolce (Shibori Girl and indigo dyer) suggested dampening the piece after some gathering is done, then pulling even tighter again before tying the knots along the side.  To test that idea, I made two identical samples, one will be gathered without dampening, one with, then both will be dyed at the same time to find out which method works better, or if there is little or no difference.  Thank you, Glennis, for the suggestion!  Results will be posted here on the blog along with photos.

Right now, before dyeing, I’m trying to figure out how I can lable each sample as they are each being treadled differently. Handstitch a number on each? Or just use a permanent laundry marker (not terribly attractive). So far, I’ve been keeping simple records of the samples,… the fiber, threading, tie-up, followed by the treadling of each sample. This way if there particular patterns or effects that I like, I’ll be able to duplicate them, at least as much as dyeing will allow.

While finishing up my samples, it’s time to research and decide on what size cotton I need to warp up for scarves, do my calculations, and get a warp or two made, ready to beam as soon as the samples are finished. 

Carving for future printing.

Something I’ve been playing with late in the evening, occasionally, is a bit of carving.  I’m using Soft-Kut, and usually the “U” shaped tool.  Sometimes a spare “sketch” directly onto the Soft-Kut with a pencil, then carve adding more detail, or else carve freehand, just see where an idea goes.  Why?  For future printing on fabric! 

Drumcarding fibers for felting.

I needed a change of pace this afternoon, so drumcarded some white roving, adding in bits of royal blue and navy.

Spots of color, ready to felt.

After felting.

After finishing this blog post I went down and felted this piece, which early next week will be made up into a couple small items.  For now, it is laying across the top of a wood drying rack near the woodrange.  It’s very possible I’ll go back down tonight and card up a couple more different colorsways to felt tonight or tomorrow.  Sometimes you just need to do something out of your ordinary routine!

Woodsmoke drifting across the lake early one February morning.

A young pine with its burden of snow.

Like many other places, we are in the end of winter slump here in the WI Northwoods, tired of snow and cold, and looking forward to the change from white to green, the return of songbirds, sunshine, and warmer temps, knowing full well cloudy days, spring rains, and the “mud” season will come first.  However, more snow in the forecast over the next three days or so.  Time to return to fibers!

Adventuring Into Woven Shibori

My first woven shibori sample is woven and off the loom.

Woven shibori – twill sample #1.

As the loom was set up for 10 shaft twill from the last couple towel warps, I left it as it was, deciding to start my woven shibori samples with the same twill setup.  After 1.5″ of plain weave, I began with 4 rows of plain weave, Row #1 of twill, 4 rows of plain weave, Row #2 of twill, and so on, through row 10 of twill.

Then I changed to 8 rows of plain weave, Row #1 of twill, through all 10 rows; then changed again to 12 rows of plain weave, Row #1 of twill, through all 10 twill rows, ending with 1.5 inches of plain weave, then removed it from the loom.  I wanted to see the difference between the closely set twill rows and those set further apart when it is dyed.

Why take it off the loom?  Before weaving more samples, I needed to know if the sett was going to be too close and need to be changed, and if the seine twine I was using for the gathering thread, would actually allow the cottolin to gather.  

Beginning to pull the gathering threads.

I’m just beginning to pull the gathering threads, starting where the twill rows are closest together.  This is where I thought the seine twine might not work, but as far as I can tell, it is working.  Of course, the proof will be when it is finally put in a dyepot, whether I am able to pull and tie them tight enough to prevent dye from penetrating, but I’m not there yet. 

This evening, I’ll pull all the threads, and figure out how to knot them all.  I’m already thinking of the next warp, likely finer threads, which means a finer gathering thread, perhaps perle cotton.

I’ll be weaving another 3-4 twill samples, then re-thread/re-tie the loom for a huck weave, then again for Monk’s Belt.  Then a new warp, different size thread, probably a little finer, and more samples.  Then I will be warping the loom for some scarves.  First, though, samples, to gain a little experience both with the weaving, the gathering, and dyeing.

I have to tell you, this is SO COOL!  I fully expect to spend several years exploring woven shibori.

January "Blues"

I seem to be sensing the beginning of a theme here,… I’ve got the blues!  My mind is filled with new weaving, indigo dyeing (beginning soon), sashiko, Japanese Boro fabrics, even cranking “I’ve Got the Blues” socks.  This blog was given a new “Blue” look, too, and more changes and additions are in store.

This year, in addition to the woven shibori and indigo, I’ll be focusing on my interest in Scandinavian weaving.  Louise is waiting for me to call with news of a warp or two ready to be beamed.  And, I need to get back to re-sleying the reed on the drawloom, then we’ll see what happens.  Before that, I have a newsletter to get out for the Complex Weavers Double Harness Study Group.  I did have an article in the International Damask Weavers Newsletter about my week this past Sept. at VavStuga, and their Basic Drawloom class. 

Beginnings of woven shibori.

Woven shibori had been on my Must Do list for a long time, since I happened upon “Woven Shibori” by Catherine Ellis.  So a warp was made and beamed.  I decided to use what I had on hand, not too fine to start, so stayed with 22/2 half-bleached cottolin, about 8″ wide in the reed, and sett at 24 epi.  I am using seine twine for the gathering threads as I know it is strong.  I plan to remove the first sample and try the seine twine to see if it works for gathering, and expect I’ll also discover if the sett is too close.  If the seine twine doesn’t work, I will change to fish line or other. 

The loom is still threaded for twill, and I will weave 3-4 or so samples, varying them, then plan to re-tie and re-thread for huck, more samples, then re-tie and re-threada again for Monk’s Belt, all weave structures in Scandinavian weaving.  Meanwhile, I am reading to find more weave structures that will work with this technique.

While weaving these samples, I need to clean up my garage, clear a “work bench” and set up an area for indigo dyeing.  Yes, it’s winter here, but my garage gets a bit of heat and stays around 46 to 50 degrees, unless we’re in sub-zero temps as we are now.  

Once an area is set up, I can get my first indigo dyepots going and start dyeing the woven samples and see what results I get.  I have the indigo dye, and supplies, including those for for safety.  I am hoping I’ll start dyeing samples later in February.  Something prepare for and look forward to during another long northwoods winter.

Page from Japanese sashiko book.

 It must be the indigo dye, but it bought to mind a book I saw years ago at a quilt shop (and did not buy, but now wish I had), about Japanese Sashiko, and the indigo woven fabrics.  So in addition to my handwoven samples, I have 14 yards of PFD cotton fabric to experiment with.  Books on shibori have been waiting patiently on my shelves, and I am looking forward to where all of this will take me!

Japanese silk obi.

A few weeks ago, a 2 DVD set arrived, “Creative Cloth” with Anita Luvera Mayer (Interweave Press).  I have watched it a few times now, and as always, find Anita Mayer, and her work, inspiring!  It must have been under her influence that I obtained this Japanese silk obi, which I plan to incorporate in a future jacket for myself.  Ideas are simmering!

“Got the Blues” socks.

I thought Christmas and January would be quiet times for me, with plenty of weaving.  Wrong!  The phone rang a few times, emails came, people wanted socks!  Then a tooth infection struck before Christmas and I was done doing anything for almost two weeks.  Just me, my antibiotic, and glasses of water and juice.  So now in January I am trying to catch up so I can get back to my looms!  More socks to do and I’ve given myself a deadline of four days from now. 

“Maddy,” the new addition to my feline family.

Earlier in January, I had been missing pets whose lives had ended a little over a year ago, and started haunting critter shelter lists.  After three or four visits, Maddy and I met and she came home with me.  She is adjusting well to living with three male cats (all quite gentle).  Maddy is a real sweetheart!

Wood supply in my garage.

There is a big, black, woodburning range in my kitchen, about 14 years old, Amish made, the kind with the warming oven on top.  I get close to half my heat in winter from wood, which of course, requires a LOT of wood in the woodshed, and hauling it into the house all winter long.  Every few days, this rack is filled, along with one half that size that is inside my house.  I keep an eye on the weather and on warmer days, fill the back of my Honda CR-V with wood, 3 to 4 times, to fill these racks.  My inside rack is empty after three nights of around -18 F., and I’m now carrying in wood from the garage.  Guess what I’ll be doing for a couple hours on Sunday?

Jan Zindel, at Shuttle Works Studio, January 21, 2013.

A couple months ago, a small northwoods publication, “Baby Boomers and Beyond” contacted me about an article for an upcoming issue, and sent a writer for an interview and photos. The article was sent to me for any changes or corrections, and then I received word there were problems with the photos and could I supply a couple. What to do but ask a friend to come over and take a few. Artist/weaver/friend Louise Engelbrecht (yes, the same Louise I traveled to the tapestry exhibit with), arrived Monday AM, a VERY COLD, well below zero morning, and snapped a few pics. The one above was not sent to the magazine. It took a little time for Louise and I to get our timing together, as you can see, I would move and/or talk, while she snapped! Great fun, though, and I finally have photos of myself at a loom.

It’s nearly midnight, 0 F. outside, and snowing, and I’m looking forward to bit warmer temps Sunday and Monday, and a lot more time in the studio!  There is a lot to look forward to!