Indigo Dyeing and Shibori Techniques

Indigo Dyeing and Shibori Techniques

I’m busy prepping to teach a workshop on Shibori and dyeing with Indigo (or other dye) for Knitters At Home Expo in early November. Please join me in the class. We will be using either an Indigo kit (you can get on Amazon) or Dylon cold water dyes.

Indigo Dyeing Workshop
Samples of Indigo Dyeing with Shibori techniques.

Here is the info

I wanted to share with you one of the most memorable experiences of my creative life.. which has inspired to continue working with Indigo. This was a visit to the Little Indigo Museum outside of Kyoto, Japan in 2015.

Indigo Dyeing with Hirojuki Shindo in Japan

The Little Indigo Museum

Two trains and two buses. That is what it took for us to get to the magical village of Kita in Miyama, which lies 60 km north of Kyoto, Japan.

The goal; to visit the Little Indigo Museum, and meet Hiroyuki Shindo, a master of Indigo dyeing. He is known in the fiber arts community and has shown his art indigo pieces in numerous major museums throughout the world.

Shindo-san and his family live in Kita, a village composed of amazing thatched-roof dwellings, many of which are more than 200 years old. The Little Indigo Museum’s dwelling is the oldest, and functions not only as a museum, but a workspace, and living quarters.

A typical house in the village of Kita

The Shindo family was most gracious. The museum, in the upstairs of the home held many examples of indigo fabrics, demonstrating dyeing and printing techniques from around the world.

A view of part of the Indigo Exhibit
A fringed indigo veil worn by a Berber bride in Tunisa 
18th century Indigo print, France
Shindo-san cutting hemp for our projects

The workshop part of our visit allowed us to experience indigo dyeing first-hand. Shindo-san provided each of us with a meter of vintage hemp, and discussed various techniques we could apply using a clamp-resist process. 

The first step was to fold the fabric vertically, so as to expose as much of it as possible in the dye bath. Then, we sandwiched the fabric between wood pieces and clamped them in place.

Folding the fabric vertically
Folding the fabric vertically

Off to the dye vats!

Indigo Plants
Dried Indigo

Indigo, as a dye substance, is processed from the leaves of the indigo plant.Here you can see the plants, and leaves once dried, that will be pulverized for use. I was intrigued to learn that a healthy dye bath will be capped with a crowing ‘flower’ formed through a vigorous stirring process, which signifies a healthy ph value.

Stirring to create the ‘flower’
The ‘flower’

Don and I decided to use two different techniques. I dipped my cloth completely, and Don space-dyed his, meaning he kept part of his cloth from immersing in the fabric.

The amazing thing about indigo dyeing, is that the bath is a yellowish-green. One doesn’t start to see the blue/navy until oxidation takes place. This can happen through exposure to the air, or through the oxygen in water. Here you can see my fabric as I have unclamped the wood.

Here are our finished pieces; This was too much fun!

Don’s space-dyed piece (left) and my complete immersed piece (right)

This visit was one of the highlights of my Japan trip. I cannot thank the Shindo family enough for their generosity in sharing and in spirit.
To learn more about Hirojuki Shindo and his Little Indigo Museum, click on the link below:

Susan Lazear

Cochenille Design Studio

Adinkra Cloth Inspired Fashion with Garment Designer

One of my most recent projects was to design both fabric and garment with an Adinkra influence. The Adinkra is a hand-printed cloth created by the Ashanti in Ghana, Africa. The Adinkra cloths were traditionally made for royalty and religious purposes. The motifs in the cloth communicate meaning. Most of the cloth is white with a black print, but red cloth can also be used.

I have a lot of images of Adinkra textiles on my Pinterest page which can be found here on my African Textile page.

I decided to design an original print in the Adinkra style using black motifs from their alphabet.

Examples of Adinkra symbols

 I created the design in Illustrator and tried two options, black/red on white and brown on gold.

Experiments in color

Then, an upload to Spoonflower.. and wait for the fabric to arrive.

Meanwhile, on to Garment Designer to create the sewing pattern. I am a fan of asymmetry, and thus chose to create a two-piece dress with a slightly raised waistline that runs on an angle.

I added a pocket as you can see below.

Garment Designer Pattern

And, the final dress.

Finished Dress

Here are a few references should you want to learn more about Adinkra cloth.

Pocket Design

Here are a few resources




Cochenille Design Studio will be vending and hosting classes at STITCHES November 14-17, 2019, Pasadena, CA.

Cochenille will be hosting live demonstrations in the booth and we will have an array of show specials. Come visit and try the software out for yourself!

Susan Lazear will be hosting two of her popular classes, please view the tentative schedule below. We will have more details, such as times, in the near future.

Sewing Techniques for Combining YarnCrafts with Fabric
Thursday, November 14th 2019 9 a.m – 12 p.m

Why not add mixed-media techniques to your creative repertoire? Learn to combine knit or crochet with commercial fabrics. Using sewing machines, sergers, and hand-techniques, students will make samples that can be used along with your knit and crochet swatches in a garment or accessory.

We will sample joining techniques, cut-and-sew our knits, add edgings, finishings, etc. and discuss knitting and crochet techniques for finishing your designs beautifully. Mixed Media is simple when you have the right techniques!

Note: Basic sewing skills and comfort with a sewing machine required. Machines will be provided for use in class.

Moving into the Electronic Age: Designing Knits or SewnClothing on your Computer
Sunday, November 17th 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm

This hands-on class is designed for people who want a refresher on the use of Garment Designer and Stitch Painter software or for those who want to test drive to determine if computer design may work for them.

In the morning we will walk through the use of Garment Designer to show you how to create patterns for sweaters — bottom-up, sideways, top-down — in any gauge or stitch pattern. Sewists will add hems, facings, and seams to their designs. Learn how to tweak patterns for fashion, style or fit.

In the afternoon, we will move to Stitch Painter, a grid-based software program (perfect for knitting, crochet, beading, etc), where you will learn how to design colored charts on a grid, using repeat modes, pre-determined palettes, etc. We will explore some of the more advanced features such as designing with symbols, importing a photograph, building motif libraries, etc.

You will be able to use the software for the day; Windows or Macintosh compatible. If you are test driving the software, you can email to pre-arrange a digital download which she will send out two weeks prior to the scheduled class.

Please email us at if you have any questions.

We are thrilled to be able to attend other great STITCHES events in 2019. You can also find us at STITCHES Midwest 2019 and STITCHES Salt Lake 2019.


American Sewing Guild Inland Empire General Meeting With Susan Lazear

American Sewing Guild Inland Empire General Meeting With Susan Lazear

American Sewing Guild Inland Empire General Meeting With Susan Lazear

American Sewing Guild Inland Empire is hosting a general meeting with Susan Lazear as their guest.

Susan, the owner and creator of Cochenille Design Studio, is also an avid textile artist, enthusiast and historian and will be giving a tour of fabrics including their history and usage.

To Reserve a seat:
Please email or send
Name ___________________________
Or Jayne Miller, 1108 E Pennsylvania,
Redlands, CA 92374

Download the meeting information in the .pdf below


Theme: Overlay by Kaira © Cochenille Design Studio 2019
error: Content is protected !!