Sunday, June 27, 2021

The Porcupine Shirt: an indigo and shibori Make Nine finish

An impetuous buy at a resale shop met with the indigo dye pot in a recent workshop with Doug Baulos. And it was Magically Delicious!

A Liz Claiborne linen shirt itajime shibori dyed in indigo.

Retracing Nature: Folio, Book, Installation

Over-dying in an indigo dye bath was not a scheduled activity in a recent book arts workshop [at Shakerag Workshops] called, "Retracing Nature: Folio, Book, Installation" with artist Doug Pierre Baulos. But at the urging of fellow workshop participants, Doug generously offered to show us a method for preparing an indigo dye vat with natural indigo plant material. And so the story of my "Porcupine Shirt" began... 

Preparing the indigo dye vat with Doug Baulos and
Brooke Cassady (right), workshop assistant.

Thinking I might use a garment as a pattern or basis for my installation piece in the workshop, I made a serendipitous trip to the local resale shop to see what I could find. There it was... a salmony-pinkish Liz Claiborne 100% linen shirt. $3. I had no idea what was about to happen.

Clamping the collar. 

With little time to prep for the freshly bloomed dye bath, I opted for the itajime shibori method—using clothespins to create the clamped resist. (It was quicker than stitching and gathering to create a restist.) Below is the shirt, folded and clamped with clothespins.

Kinda looks like a porcupine, don't ya think? Thus the name: Porcupine Shirt.

The porcupine is ready for dyeing.
(Notice its shadow.)

I waited to put my piece into the dye pot since it was larger than the pieces from other participants. Doug carefully lowered the shirt into the indigo dye pot to minimize the introduction of any air or bubbles into the dye bath.

Carefully lowering the shirt into the indigo dye.

The removal was just as careful.

Removal from the dye pot.

Here is the little indigo porcupine drying in the sun. We did dye the critter an additional time to strengthen the color.

Drying in the sun.

After removing clothespins, the unfolding revealed this... 

Thank you to Becky Edwards for taking the video.

Tah-da! Here it is. Like magic.

The unwrapped shirt.

Drying on the line.

Auditioning buttons

The original white buttons on the shirt were removed before dyeing the shirt. Even though they had the Liz Claiborne brand imprinted on them, it seemed that white buttons were not appropriate for this makeover.

Auditioning buttons.

I chose to gradate the colors: a bright salmon button at the top, two iridescent red-violet ones for the center, and two indigo at the bottom.

Shibori dyed shirt with an assortment of colored buttons.

Shibori dyed shirt back and sleeve detail.

My new Porcupine Shirt satisfies the Make Nine 2021 "Upcycle/Repurpose/Mend" prompt. 

Make Nine: June 2021

If you ever have an opportunity to take a workshop with Doug, know that Doug is up for an unscripted adventure or detour wherever inspiration may lead. So be prepared to Seize the Day—or seize the opportunity to throw something into the dye pot. 

It's always magically delicious!

Thank you Doug!

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Nature's Calling fabric commemorates 2020 toilet paper shortage

Do you remember the TP [toilet paper] shortage/hoarding of 2020? Have you seen the Nature's Calling fabric collection from Northcott Fabrics? If you want some of these fabrics, you better get off the pot and go to your local quilt shop now! ... lest you get caught with your pants down.

Pillowcases using the toilet paper print from the Nature's Calling collection from Northcott.

Nature's Calling fabric collection

The Nature's Calling fabric collection is making people laugh... or smile, anyway. Last year, when I was previewing the collection with my clients, I heard aaaaalll the stories... as shop owners and their associates reminisced their memories and experiences with outhouses.

Prints from the "Nature's Calling" collection.
The full collection is comprised of 8 different prints (some not shown above).

There were stories and comments such as:

  • "My grandparents had one of these."
  • "I remember when we/they got indoor plumbing."
  • having to "go" in the middle of the night... or when it was cold outside.
  • if the wind was blowing the wrong direction.
  • the 2-holer!
  • After a time, outhouses had to be relocated because the hole was "full." People could tell the previous locations of these structures by the flowering bushes planted in their place.
  • And there's the ever-popular book, "40 Yards Away" by Willie MakeIt and Betty Wont.

Making my toilet paper pillowcases

I decided to "commemorate the occasion" by making pillowcases for L. These are the extra long, king-size pillowcases. I use the burrito pillowcase construction method and with this toilet paper print being non-directional, it's a fabric-efficient project and an easy sew.

Toilet paper pillowcases using a print from Nature's Calling fabric collection.

The pillowcase cuff dilemma

While at my LQS [local quilt shop], making the choice of fabric for the body of the pillowcases was simple—like poop through a goose—the toilet paper print! But the cuff fabric? Hmmmm...

I didn't go full-tilt with the outhouse theme, so opted for a Canvas blender [Northcott Fabrics]. Canvas has a beautiful color range, a subtle pattern, and is a gender-neutral design. But what color would be appropriate for toilet paper pillowcases??

  • brown? (eeewww!)
  • yellow? (ugh, not)
  • red? (gosh, no!)
  • green? (uuuuhhh...)
  • how 'bout blue?
I went with Canvas indigo. (Please don't tell me any TP/blue connotations I hadn't thought of.)

Selvedges from Nature's Calling and Canvas indigo.

Commemorating the 2020 TP shortage

So, if you're looking for a easy project, one that is useful and functional, a humorous gift, or something to make you smile, run to your local quilt shop and scoop up (or stock up!) on fabrics from Nature's Calling. There are 8 different prints in the collection, coordinating blenders, and patterns for additional projects, too. Visit your local quilt or fabric shop. 

After the year we've been through, we all need a little levity in our lives! 

Here are lists of shops that purchased the collection in my sales territory:

Alabama         Kentucky        Tennessee        West Virginia

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