The Charleston Indigo Scarf

All this time that I've been mucking about with indigo dye (and loving it!), I've thought, I really really REALLY need to come up with some knitting pattern that will show off this amazing color. Really. A couple of months ago, I was given a charge by my friend Pat to create a pattern that would be "something very Charleston...you know...maybe with indigo...a scarf or a shawl or something...". Well, Pat, I did it. What do you think?

It's not cold here yet, but it will be, and I think I will have to wear this scarf every. single. day.

It's not cold here yet, but it will be, and I think I will have to wear this scarf every. single. day.

Some lace, some textured stitches, some drop stitch action on each end...there's always something going on!

Some lace, some textured stitches, some drop stitch action on each end...there's always something going on!

It helps to have a model who is studying to be a professional dancer...

It helps to have a model who is studying to be a professional dancer...

On location--this house did not survive the big earthquake of 1886, despite being one of the oldest Ashley River plantations in Charleston. The primary crops grown on this once prosperous site were, you guessed it,  INDIGO and rice.

On location--this house did not survive the big earthquake of 1886, despite being one of the oldest Ashley River plantations in Charleston. The primary crops grown on this once prosperous site were, you guessed it,  INDIGO and rice.

Stitchy!

Stitchy!

This pattern makes me happy.  I loved knitting it and I was a little sad to finish it; it was that much fun to work on! I used 100% cotton worsted weight yarn, hand-dyed in my backyard in a big ole vat of natural indigo, knit with US size 8 needles for a gauge of 18 stitches = 4 inches   (measured on that twisty stitch stuff in the middle that looks like the spans on bridges or the details on the roof line of an old house in the historic district of Charleston.).

If you want to knit this scarf (and make my day by doing it), you'll need the pattern, available for sale in my Ravelry store or in my Craftsy store (and later on at SAFF, but that's a story for another day in October), and approximately 450-550 yards of yarn. I would love it if you used blue, but let's be honest--not everyone wants blue. I personally think it will look amazing in any color, and I promise not to judge you if you use a different color.

As always, with any pattern I sell (or class I teach), I want you to be happy with it, so just give me a holler if you have any questions.

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Finish for Fall, part 2

Finish for Fall makes me want to dance for joy! Or at least find a dancer to model a finished project:  The Charleston Indigo Scarf

Finish for Fall makes me want to dance for joy! Or at least find a dancer to model a finished project: The Charleston Indigo Scarf

So it's been a week since I admitted to the world the appalling state of my yarn stash/unfinished objects/knitting storage.  I will now further humble myself with photographic evidence of my progress:

I found 14 projects tucked away (2 not pictured). That's a lot of unfinished business!

I found 14 projects tucked away (2 not pictured). That's a lot of unfinished business!

My progress was slowed by the constant need to stop and untangle yarn balls.

My progress was slowed by the constant need to stop and untangle yarn balls.

By the time I was through getting it all organized, I had one bag of yarn to put away, one bag of knitting projects to finish and a basket of odd-ball yarn to make decisions about. And a head, but that's a story for another day.

By the time I was through getting it all organized, I had one bag of yarn to put away, one bag of knitting projects to finish and a basket of odd-ball yarn to make decisions about. And a head, but that's a story for another day.

Since that first day of digging it all out, I have frogged 6 projects, bound off one where it was (it was a swatch)(sorta), and completed the knitting on both a random dishcloth and the Charleston Indigo Scarf.  14 - 9 = 5!  I now have a very full tin of stitch markers, several more sets of needles and an abundant supply of row counters that had all been "in use" for years in some cases.

There is still much to do, of course, and I know I will be casting on new projects (for new designs I'm writing) long before I finish my Cold Mountain shawl or some of the other projects still on needles.  That's why my list is coming in handy.  The next step for me is to develop my time-table for finishing that big project and even more importantly, to stay "solvent". My plan to Finish for Fall has given me a new resolve to not let things languish or get pushed aside into a dark closet or drawer.

I started this beaded wrap several years ago. Frogged!

I started this beaded wrap several years ago. Frogged!

I started this random dishcloth (what were those eyelets all about??) last spring. Finished!!

I started this random dishcloth (what were those eyelets all about??) last spring. Finished!!

How about you? Did you start this Finish for Fall project, too?  How is it going?  Is it helping? I'd love to hear about it. If you feel brave, share with us in the Ravelry group. If you're too mortified by how much you found lurking in the shadows, post an anonymous comment and know that you're not alone.

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An Indigo History of my Own

We talk a lot about the history of indigo when we teach indigo dyeing, but I don't always get to say much about my own history with it.  If you've known me awhile, you've probably already heard it all (and even "been there, done that" along with me!), so bear with me just a bit as I recap.

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After teaching several different knitting classes there, I was asked by the Charleston Museum to consider teaching a class on natural dyes.  My reply was "Sure, but can we just do indigo?"  I liked the focus of having the one dye to play with, plus it's a dyestuff that can be used without the necessity of hot water to set the color.  In a word, it was going to be simple, and I am a big fan of simple. It also had such a prominent spot in the history of Charleston, that I really just had to do it. History buffs are weird like that.

My first workshop was in April 2013 and it was a little scary (having never actually taught dyeing before) and a lot of fun.  We had a really diverse group that first time--a hat maker who has been featured in Martha Stewart, a couple of folks who had dyed with indigo before, and I think that was the class that also included a high school student whose teacher had suggested she take the workshop to supplement a school project. 

In the fall of last year I was privileged to attend, along with Museum staff members, a morning of indigo dyeing taught by a truly interesting individual, who knew more about indigo dyeing than anyone I'd ever met. My "indigo morning" helped solidify in me a love for the art of this dyestuff.

Since that first class, I've taught many more, both at the Museum and in my own home (including another school student who was doing a project that included Eliza Lucas Pinckney! I'm so proud of the teachers who are assigning these topics!!).  My most recent event was held at the Museum's Dill Sanctuary, which was probably the prettiest spot I've ever seen to teach or learn anything!

I have met some fascinating people, made some new friends (Hi, Wendy!) and been enriched so much by hearing the stories of folks who had come to the dye classes. 

Over the last two years of research, experimentation, practice and teaching, I have come to realize the uniqueness of this natural dye and its importance in the history of this world, this area, and my own life as well.  The dyeing, the people, the magic of it all--these things have made a difference in my journey and I am so excited at the prospect of getting to introduce indigo to more of you this October.  If you're interested, check out the info at the Museum's calendar and sign up soon because space is limited and, more importantly, I really don't want you to miss it!

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Registration is now open: Indigo Oct. 4

Great news!  Registration is now open for my October 4 Indigo Dyeing workshop at The Charleston Museum!

Simply go to this link, which will take you to the calendar listing for the event, and sign up!  While you're on the Museum's website, be sure to look around at some of their other events--there's always something interesting happening.

You'll need to bring your own gloves (like for dish washing) and wear clothes that can get dirty or bring an apron or smock to protect your clothes. 

Y'all, it's going to be so much fun!  Dyeing with indigo is such a unique experience--it goes beyond just turning something blue.  But then you've already heard me go on and on about it, right? (See the post right before this one)

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