Indigo

I didn’t know if it would work. I messed up the recipe, told myself it would be okay, and then doubted. Most of my projects these days, from the garden to baking are done in the midst of helping Amos and Eowyn find rocks or fix a broken wheelbarrow or fill a watering can once again. If I’m not helping them and responding to some ordinary or bizarre need, they are helping me which often means trampling garden beds, dumping all the seeds in one place, or carrying a seedling around by it’s delicate stem. Despite all of this and the momentary frustrations, I love our time outside. I love that I can work on weeding, planting, or dyeing fabric while they find rocks in the driveway and cut the grass with scissors. Amos proclaims how very much he loves alyssum or watering plants and we work together or side by side.

I’ve come to give myself huge margins of error for most of the projects I attempt before bedtime. I feel a little crazy trying to do anything besides keep us all alive and fed but going beyond these basic requirements helps me feel more alive.

I bought supplies to make an indigo vat so I could dye the flannel for the back of Amos’s quilt. It seemed like too much to take on, but the quilt needed a back of blue flannel, dyed in our yard. I was intimidated by the process, I followed the instructions badly, figured out a way to make it work. Sometimes I feel like I am too much of a dabbler, trying so many things with okay results, but mastering none. Then, I realize that I love all the swirling creativity and to have my hands busy in the kitchen, the garden, and at my desk. When making all the time is just part of life, both necessity and pleasure, it doesn’t feel fragmented or like I’m dipping my toes in so many waters. It feels like putting all the pieces together to make one vibrant, messy whole.

I can’t explain how the indigo process works but I can say that if it is something you want to try, you should! I got my supplies from Botanical Colors and they have lots of information and instructions on their website. While time and space and energy are big obstacles to creating more and trying things that you want to make, I am pretty sure that motivation and the ability to just do it are probably the biggest factors. You may end up with a mess, it might not work, but it might turn out beautifully and you will certainly learn something. What have you been wanting to make? Go for it!

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