When you are in the final sunny days of summer, one beautiful way to spend it is to dye everything you own indigo blue.
This chartreuse colored liquid is the indigo dye bath— we used the reputable Jacquard indigo dye kit, available at an internet near you.
When you pour the contents of the kit into the water and stir, an oil slick film covers the top and a bubbly mix (called the flower) forms in the center. You'll want to save this flower on a piece of plastic wrap, just in case you need a taco break like we did. (Also: five points if you can spot the face of our indigo bath gnome).
Now we tie and tie again. Wood blocks are part of the traditional shibori style process, and they created a great variety of results. I also enjoyed tying rubber bands over small points in the fabric to make circles. There are a lot of tutorials and instructions on how to create established patterns, but I had the most fun by the tying patterns that weren't so predictable (also known as: making it up as I went along).
Another joyful aspect of the process is that if the first dip doesn't create the desired effect, you can double and triple dip away until you get what you want.
We dyed cotton, linen, silk, and paper. We dyed old kitchen towels, yards of brand new fabric, ripped into scarves— even overdyeing a pair of jeans. The most satisfying pieces were the redeemed clothes that were next in line to be donated to Goodwill (I'm looking at you, mint green button-up blouse with a stain).
The helpful hints I would recommend for anyone interested in indigo dyeing: wear rubber gloves but expect blue hands to happen— it's inevitable. Work with a group of friends. It is much more fun. Choose to dye on a sunny day— by some magic, it seems to help the process. Lastly, have way more fabric available to dye than you think wise. Because you will dye it all and it's better to have it at the ready than to be rummaging through your dresser with blue hands trying to find some random piece of clothing to dye for your next good idea. Trust.
Lately I've been thinking/feeling/playing/existing in these notes lately. They sound like this, if you are wondering.
This is just one wave in the ocean that is the work Uncle, by Peter Velikonja, but it is by far my favorite. Here's to hoping that we can all find our wave to give us joy and push us forward.
When we moved, there were the boxes labeled "kitchen," and the boxes labeled "clothes." But I don't even want to say how many boxes were labeled "half finished projects." There were quite a few, and this book was in one of those boxes.
I'm pretty good about following through on ideas and projects, but when you have to move and you've still been creating... well, it goes in that box (wrapped up with paper and board first).
I recently finished the sewing, and I guess it was worth the wait, because I'm incredibly happy with how this book took form.
I had a few goals for this book. I wanted to showcase one of my marbled papers which I created in a workshop with Chena River Marblers in May 2013, and I wanted to do an exposed binding that featured a Coptic stitch with something different. So I incorporated the butterfly link stitch into the sewing and added a Moriki Kozo paper hinge to add some color to the exposed spine. The book measures 10 in x 8.25 in x 1.25 in.
And look how flat it is when opened! This is always one of my favorite features of this kind of binding.
Here's a more detailed picture of the marbling—in a reverse bouquet pattern.
Now if you'll excuse me, I think I have to go revive one of those projects still waiting for me in the box labeled "half finished projects."
How cute! A little book!
This book is tiny.
I've been volunteering with Kitsap Regional Library and this week, I've been preparing the supplies for a staff workshop—and I will be teaching it tomorrow for the first time.
It's been an enjoyable experience to plan and prepare a workshop. There were a few challenges ("There are going to be 22 participants?!"), and some very real moments of gratitude, particularly when I discovered the library has an electric guillotine. But beyond all the work that has been done so far, I'm most looking forward to sharing the bookbinding craft with others—even if it only fits in the palm of your hand.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
The last few months have been a blur of moving boxes. The arduous journey from Connecticut to Washington was exhausting and exhilarating, and now that I've had some more time to adjust to my new surroundings, I've been sure to make time for one of my favorite pastimes: adventure knitting.
It seems basic, and it is—but it is wonderfully freeing. Simply take whatever knitting you are working on and go out into the world. Some knitters refer to this act as "knitting in public" but I like my version better.
It has been a while since there has been an update from me, but not for lack of doing!
Transitioning from winter to spring can sometimes require a lot of energy—so I revert to the things that comfort me. The last few weeks, the bread has been baking, the flower plants are sprouting on the kitchen table, and a few weeks ago, I recorded this song.
Written during my time as a high school student at the Perpich Center for Arts Education, and later revised during my college years at the University of Iowa, this song has taken me many places. Most notably, I performed this piece while on zooming around on roller skates as a member of Cirque Stupendo in Iowa City, as Roller Muzzy, Maiden of the North.
Well, it only took five years since recording but today I release my album.
Why five years?
Well, I hate instant gratification. That's why.
Olivia Rose Muzzy
Works in progress, works in retrospect.