03 January 2016

shibori napkins

Holy moly, y'all. It has been a year since I posted here last. A year! How was 2015 for you? It was pretty great for me. We went to Italy, we bought a new house, we adopted guinea pigs, the kids grew like weeds. (Still, they insist on the growing. I tell them to stop, but do they listen? No.)

I'd love to say “I'm back!” but I'm not committing to that. I do have a few things I want to share with you—mostly photography nerd and travel stuff—but I don't have plans to return to regular posting. But who knows? Maybe new house projects will make an appearance. We have several in queue...

But for today, shibori! I have wanted to try shibori for the longest time. I'm kind of obsessed with navy blue (or indigo, if I'm staying true to shibori, but as you'll soon see, I'm actually not), and I love the geometric patterns that arise from the tying methods. There are several shibori tutorials around the internet. I'm not attempting a step-by-step tutorial here, though I will include some links below to the tutorials I used. But while I was searching for tying methods, I became frustrated with the lack of clear before-and-after shots showing exactly what pattern each tying method would produce. So that's my purpose here—to show you how my napkins looked tied, before dyeing, and how those same napkins looked opened up, after dyeing.

I used the following tutorials/tying suggestions:

They were all very helpful! But some of the after pictures were less than clear. So here are my notes:
-I started with 100% cotton napkins (and a tank top). Mine were homemade—my kids prefer the texture and absorbency of napkins made from flour sack towels, and I haven't found any pre-made yet—but you can use anything 100% cotton.
-I bypassed the proper indigo dye and used a box of Rit Denim Blue (double strength) I had on hand.
-I found that the size of my triangle resist (B and C, below) didn't affect the end result.
-I rolled napkin D diagonally and wrapped rubber bands around it at even intervals. It's one of my favorites!
-Napkins E, F, G, and H look remarkably similar, despite very different folding/tying techniques. (All were accordion folded, but some were folded more than others and one had resist blocks.)
-My “resist blocks” were cut up pieces of milk carton. You don't have to use wood! This felt like a huge DIY win.
-I love the patterns made from the clothespins! I wish I had done more like that. Plus—bonus!—I now have a set of navy blue clothespins. Swoon!

Questions? Let me know and I'll update the post as needed.

Oh, and here's a horrible, late night, badly lit phone pic of the tank top I dyed, because I figured someone would ask to see it. This was an old white maternity tank that is great for summer, but had some stains that kept it hanging in my closet, unworn for years. Whenever I dye fabric, I look through my closet and 9 times out of 10, I find some piece of clothing that I just don't wear because of a stain or because it was an impulse buy and it's the wrong color for me. I throw it in the dye bath and voila! A new piece of clothing for free. I probably should take in the sides and hem of this tank to make it look less like a maternity shirt...