Saturday, September 13, 2014



My girl said, “Now, remember; when you have a new hammer, everything looks like a nail.”





Michelle came over with a 5-gallon bucket and an indigo dye kit, and we spent a whole day dunking and shibori-ing everything we could think of.  Every single thing in my house that was some shade related to white or off-white seemed like fair game.  I considered doing the slipcover on the sofa, but I didn’t think it would fit in the dye bucket.  She brought a whole mess of stuff too, and it all went in the pot, and not one thing didn’t turn out gorgeous. 



I lost count of it all.  We dipped tablecloths and napkins and shirts and scarves and big lengths of linen fabric and still the bucket was full of dye, and I confess I haven’t dumped it out yet, because I keep imagining I’ll think of something else that would look better blue. 

Her glove leaked in the first five minutes, which made us shriek, then laugh, then giggle every two seconds all day, every time either of us noticed it again.   The freaky blue fingernails were the best part.  She thought about doing the other hand too, just to make them even, but then she chickened out. 




It all looks so much like a coastal summer; like sunlight reflecting on the lake, or ripples in a swimming pool.  It makes me think of steamed lobster and beach glass and an ice cold Corona with a wedge of lime stuck in the neck.  Don’t all those beautiful blues make you just want to put together a picnic basket of potato salad and salami and a big hunk of sourdough and a bottle of chilled prosecco?   I just love all the varying, surprising ways the different fabrics absorbed the dye.  



Every time either of us pulled something new out of the bucket, or took off the resists to see what the design looked like, we went “Oooooh, that’s great!” and “Awwwww, I LOVE that!”  and then we kept being amazed, again, as things oxidized from greenish to whatever of the various shades of indigo they eventually became.  It was endlessly interesting.  It was tie-dye for grownups.  I dyed some yarn, and it is exactly the color of the sky.  When you have a big pot of blue dye, everything starts to look like it should be blue.


I want to say, too:  thank you all so much for your kind words and thoughts about Grandma.  She would have been thrilled to pieces.  She was a whiz with a sewing needle, a paintbrush, a garden trowel.  She made beautiful things, every day she could do it.  She was one of us. 


  1. Beautiful blues to be sure...I love the crocheted table cloth, just stunning! Looks like you both had a great time of building a fun memory.

  2. what fun!!!!!!!!! grownup playing. :)

  3. Mood Indigo, indeed. Fantastic results. x

  4. I wish I could have been at your "dying" party!!!! (Any excuse to play...) Everything looks great! xxx

  5. Wow, lovely, lovely indigo, I wouldn't have stopped either. I love the saying about the hammer as well, I shall remember that one. I'm wondering how long the dye will take to fade from a hand... CJ xx

  6. Fantastic. But now i want to go dye-mad. I'm thinking of all the little off colour fine crochet doilies and such. Dyed blue and transformed into lampshades and applique gems.


  7. Oo, you've done it so beautifully! Those 4 squares on the line, all different! That gorgeous doily-esque lace! I adore blue, especially indigo; always been my fave colour. By the way, how's your orchid? Mine, that had flowered it's beautiful heart out for at least 10 years, finally succumbed to my neglectful regime and rotted off. Horror. In a fit of remorse I've managed to save it's life and its put up 3 new crowns in a desperate attempt to survive, so all is not lost, but I fear no more flowers for some long time to come. I shall henceforth attend its every need. Right, now to scour the house for anything that needs to be blue...Jen

  8. Yeah Shibori! So much fun! Beautiful blue! :)

  9. Such fun you and your friend had, wow everything looks so beautiful.
    Hugs to you and remember your Grandmother helped make you the creative wonderful woman you are.

  10. Wonderful memories of a great day. The blue is a beautiful colour.

  11. Oh that hand is just screaming out to be repeated come Halloween! (if you celebrate the festival, and apologies for any offence caused if you don't!)
    And the quote about "everything looks like a nail when you get a new hammer" is so right! Like everything needs stamping when you first buy a stamping set....

  12. Kristen, your daughter's hammer quote is very, very funny. Because it's so true.

    I am a huge fan of the art of Shibori, and it's a joy to see what you and Michelle have created with that bucket of indigo. How grand to have a bright sunny day and a welcoming clothes line, too.

    I cannot pick a favorite from the variety of examples you've shown us. Each one is fabulous, and unique. Love that indigo hand. Wonder if local tattoo fans will spot a new trend?


  13. That looks like the best kind of fun ever, I'd have had my knickers in there! J x

  14. That looks like it would have been SO much fun!!!
    Another thing to add to my 'to try one day' list.....

  15. Ooh! I love dyeing with indigo--I took a class at Peters Valley in New Jersey a few years back and have been itching to draw a dye bath again. Your fabric looks amazing!

  16. Hi Kristen! It looks and sounds like so much fun!!! If you still got dye left, can't you dip dye some more yarn, how about some fine crochet cotton (bound in a skein)? Make it as uneven and interesting as possible! Then make a scarf or shawl from it! Or dye some spare fabric and then sew something from it?
    Have even more fun with it!!! ;)
    Ingrid xx

    btw, I have started on my harlequin blanket now! Yours really made an impression!!! Thanks for the great inspiration!!! :)

  17. I love the dying you did! You always have a picture in your mind what it might look like, but I love the surprise at the very end! Your friend's poor hand. I did that the last time I dyed my daughters' hair. I was a mix of red and purple, sort of resembled a big bruise! I am sorry about your grandmother. My grandmother taught me to embroider. I still have one of her samplers she embroidered and a quilt top that she never finished. Grandmothers are wonderful:)

  18. Your dying is great. Blue is my favorite color. I love the various tye-dying that you did. Your crafting is a tribute to your grandmother. So sorry to hear of her passing.

  19. Pretty! The whole bunch!
    Feels like the colours of a holiday home in Greece!

    I simply adore the expression: "when you have a new hammer, everything looks like a nail" It really says it all .
    Never heard it before. Your language is SO much better than ours.

    Would have loved to see your bucket (I am imagining all kind of things) and also would have loved to shove some of mine things into it.

    Brigitte from Beligum

  20. I really loved this post Kristen as blue is my favorite color. I especially LOVE picture #10. Reminds me of two other things I and sea. Thanks for sharing your day, such fun!

  21. This is such a fun project, Kristen, thanks for sharing. I will try to do this myself.

  22. Wow, some really awesome items that you had to dye with the Indigo kit. Please let us know the brand-name of the kit used and where your friend purchased it.

    Richard - Charlotte, North Carolina

    1. We used a kit made by Jacquard, and I think she bought it at Amazon. Here it is: