Sunday, January 4, 2015

potd - Laundry

Summer is a good time to clear the shop laundry basket and I've been washing old indigo fairly constantly for the last week or two. These are  old  futon cover panels and some garment linings dating from early to mid 20th century (some a little older) - some hand woven, some not.   I unpick the panels, defluff  where necessary, cut them into usable pieces,  iron and sort  according to their condition, size and use. There is no waste at all. This is a little bit time consuming so I never have as much old plain indigo in the shop as I'd like.  Hopefully this summer blitz will remedy that.
At the textile auctions this  plain indigo is just  called  uraji ('lining') and is what has traditionally been used for sashiko stitching for 300 years or more since cotton and indigo both became widespread in Japan. As well as sashiko, cotton was recycled in traditional rag weaving (sakiori), made into bags, cords etc -  and the  rough patchwork that we now value as 'boro'. In the north of Japan,  where it was too cold to grow cotton,  bales of fabric  remnants were imported from the south.  My customers are using the fabric for sashiko and  patchwork projects and I love knowing that we are continuing the recycling tradition.
 The women who first dyed, wove and stitched these pieces couldn't have imagined them ending up on my  clothesline in Tasmania ...which is today's photo of the day...

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