I ordered some blank silk scarves from Dharma Trading Company in mid-August. On the left is a blank, undyed Habotai Silk 8" x 54" one and on the right is its twin which I dyed with natural dyes in a two-step Shibori tying process that Anne Burgeson demonstrated to me while she was here at our dyeing workshop September 12 and 13, 2014. First, I folded the scarf in half as they are seen here hanging from a towel rack in the photo. Then I folded it lengthwise so it was half as wide. I made 1" pleats in this, ironed in the pleats, basted gathers, and tied the gathers tightly with carpet thread. I then solar-dyed it in Hass avocado dye I had previously extracted from saved avocado skins and refridgerated.. This produced a scarf that had narrow horizontal white stripes where it had been tied and was a rosy apricot-tan over the rest. Once it was rinsed and dried, I re-ironed the same pleats and re-tied them halfway between the white stripes created by the first tyeing. Then I re-dyed it in a first bath of Japanese Indigo dye I extracted from fresh leaves that I've grown and harvested. I dried, then redipped it; silk uptakes indigo more slowly than wool does. Then I dried it again, and soaked and rinsed it to wash out excess dye and chemicals, and dried it overnight, not untying it until the following day. I pressed it, and here it is, all done! Note how dye also concentrated in the pleat folds for a subtle vertical striping effect as well, and note the blue stripes the indigo (applied to previously white stripes where they tying was the first time) made. I am reasonably pleased with the color and pattern blends that resulted. Next, I want to try indigo with yellow overdye or vice versa on the blank scarf I have left, but that will have to wait until next summer--it's going to freeze and destroy me Japanese Indigo bed ttonight, and I have run out of energy and chemicals. Three double batches of Japanese Indigo extraction and dyeing in one season is enough--time to move on to spinning up some pretty yarns.
Jeanne Dukerschein loves animals and also has enjoyed lifelong interests in fiber arts, nature, and writing. In 2006, she learned to spin her own yarns and purchased her first Shetland ewe. Her poetry and fiber art, as well as her 20-year career as a freshwater biologist, carry common themes of nature, ecology, and