Freedom quilting bee workshop: Day 1

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The first thing we did was learn about everyone and their experience or reason for interest in natural dyes. We met Rennie, Fannie, Shunda, Otis and Xavier.

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Sarah showed how and why we scour fabric.

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Also, we described the mordanting process.

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Everyone began to immerse their scoured and mordanted fabric into separate bins of water to soak the fabric.

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The first dye we worked on setting up was cochineal (pink) which is actually tiny bugs that live on cactuses.

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Otis is breaking the black walnuts

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Here is Fannie dipping fabric into madder (red) so it can soak for a long time.

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We must boil some of the dyestuff like the marigolds and the cochineal bugs before we put fabric in.

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While we are waiting to extract color from the dyes on the stove, Ali is demonstrating how to refresh a Thiox indigo vat.

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While we wait for the indigo mixture to change color into a yellow, we dip some more fabric to dye. 

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When the thiox mixture for the indigo changes color we can mix it in with the batch to refresh it.

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We begin to dip fabric in both the Thiox and the fermented vat of indigo.

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Fannie is checking on the cochineal.

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After that we take out the first marigold yellow fabric. Then we do more indigo dyeing.

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Close to the end of the day we discussed all of the colors and the steps it took to make the ones we did that day.

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This is the stepdown marigold. We took half the batch of the first marigold and this stepdown marigold and would overdye them with indigo to make green.

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The first marigold dip in indigo was brighter than the other.

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At the end of day they showed us a couple of quilts and their different patterns.

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