A Beautiful Day for Beautiful Blue


Somewhere along the way I lost track of how many indigo workshops I've conducted at the Charleston Museum. Today I counted and the one we just held on Saturday, October 4 was number six! I feel in some ways as though I've never NOT been conducting indigo workshops, and at the same time, as though I'll never learn all there is to know about this magical blue dyestuff.

The weather on Saturday was one of those pristine autumn days that make you fall in love with Charleston all over again. It was cool and dry with a light breeze that kept any of our famous Lowcountry mosquitoes away, so we set up just outside the Museum's courtyard breezeway and began prepping the vats for dyeing.


Many of our attendees this time had dyed before or were involved with yarn or fabric on a regular basis. It always pleases me to find a varied group of students with different motivations and perspectives. Everyone who comes to one of my workshops (or knitting classes!) brings so much for me to learn as well. I love my job!

Jan Heister, Curator of Textiles at the Museum showed off items from the collection and gave an entertaining look at the history of indigo in both South Carolina and beyond.


Then it was time to dye! This time we focused on fabric--a canvas bag and a cotton scarf were our playthings and we got some gorgeous results. Each student was encouraged to bring an item from home as well and my favorite was a purple sweatshirt that overdyed to a magnificent blue.


Yes, it was a beautiful day and, as usual, I can't wait to do it all again!

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Fall Knitting Classes

After spending a whole awful lot of my summer going to and from Philadelphia for this kid, I am now ready to tackle that thing called Planning Fall Knitting Classes!

It gets tough, adding in classes when I'm working on designs, but really, it's adding in designing while I'm teaching classes, because that chicken came long before the egg. To those of who you have been asking for classes and patiently waiting for things to settle down sufficiently for me to have time to teach them, I say thank you, and I hope you like what I have planned.



Classes for Fall 2014


Beginning Knitting: Saturday, Sept. 27 from 9-11am

Indigo Workshop: Saturday, Oct. 4 from 9-11am

Startin' Off Right: Cast Ons: Saturday, Oct. 18, 10am-noon

Finishin' Strong: Binding Off and (Some) Seaming: Saturday, Nov. 15, 9-11am

For more information on any of them, click on the class and you'll go to the "Current Class Offerings" page on the website, or in the case of the Indigo Workshop, straight to the Museum's calendar listing for the class.  As always, if you have questions or comments, please let me know! It's gonna be a great fall, y'all!


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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.


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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