jude hill spirit cloth

A String of Days

Like a beautiful thread.

The past days.  Pulled me through a cloud of doubt.  Restored the trust in Just Going.

The almost September light

I dyed some thread. Indigo.  Indigo is different than other dyes.  I use, or simulate a rope dyeing technique I became familiar with when I worked in textiles.   In a nutshell,  the thread is twisted into a rope and dipped quickly and repeatedly into and out of the vat.  This gives a nice color  as it oxidizes in between dips and develops a rich, subtly variegated color,  layer on layer, but also never allows the color to penetrate to the core of the thread, which creates the beautiful fading over time as the color wears off the surface through use.  Exposing the original color of the thread.  I could say a lot more about this,  the many ways  that indigo wears and fades and how to engineer a path to that.   But with thread,  hand stitching,  through layers of cloth creates friction and the fibers wear away more quickly.  Depending on the thread's character,  and what cloth and stitch you are using, the worn look can happen  as you work.  And I have always loved that.  So that is the story of how I spend the time to try to make that happen...

indigo thread love

I was amazed that he sat there while it dried and didn't interfere.  Self control comes with age I guess.

I just realized Indigo is not in my glossary yet, that's rather funny... I'll get to that,  because my relationship to it goes way back, before internet time.

when clouds become tree tops

I also dyed some clouds,  tree tops actually.  Here still wet, resting on my mother's (her mother's actually) rocker.   Many dips.  Been pulling bits of green from the basket while noticing some of the leaves are turning already.  It's been a long hot summer and the trees seem tired.  It is going to be a big acorn year.  The squirrels are smiling.

two flowering cloud treesI began making some cloud tree bases for the shop but then pulled them back and thought I might work with them myself.  They seem like friends.  And I am drawn to the mystery of the deep space.

so many ways to connect. they become woven together for a moment.

A bit more stitching here,  while making some mental notes about story.  How it might be based on a lie or a truth.   How story is, in any form, is a form of connection.  How it is a tool.   A thread.  How it might lose its strength when the spell of connection is lost.

by on
Categories: Indigo, Stray Selves Series, threadTags: ,


  1. your comments about indigo brought to mind the long-ago time when new denim jeans had to be carefully sequestered in the laundry lest they turn everything else blue …

    • jude

      Sometimes indigo can dry crock (rub off) if not totally rinsed but not permanently stain cloth in the washing process. Some blue might enter the water but rinse out. Since the reduction and oxidation process is not present. So probably the manufacturing process included some non indigo blue dye as well. That was common in the industry. But then prefaded came into fashion. Which is hysterical really paying more for something that is already worn out. But we did it.

  2. jess

    Re: losing its connection…
    I don’t know, I feel like when most of us look at cave drawings, we’re excited, and we try to relate to it, and we try to figure out what they’re saying out of a strong desire to connect with them. Maybe that could lead to infinite new connections of understanding and excitement.

    • jude

      yes, I think the possibility and the initial connection itself is exciting. But then, well, sometimes the connection doesn’t ring true, but there is always the infinite moving on.

  3. deemallon

    In writing circles these days, they say all memoir is fiction and all fiction is memoir.

    Love the cloud/trees on the rocker with a lineage.

    • jude

      I am thinking so much about how everything , in a way is somewhat influenced by imagination or agenda…

      always loved that rocker, I wonder who will be next…

  4. Jacqui

    Jude can you plse share how you got the cloud shapes on yr fabirc. Love how yr 2 cloud trees are so subtley bowing toward each other.

    • jude

      Nice that you noticed the leaning.
      It is clamped resist. Two identical cloud shapes, in this case I got them laser cut from plexiglass, clamped around fabric, like a sandwich with the cloth in the middle. dip in dye. the clamped part of the cloth is protected from the dye and the color is absorbed around it.

  5. Oh, blue… need to get back to the indigo when it cools off some. Your two figures pull me in to their story and myself. I’ve been thinking about the magic and fragility of connection, the trust that it requires, and how hard that is sometimes.

  6. Sandy

    Oh, the wonderful continuation of the story of the two figures on indigo! I can’t take my eyes off the swirl that goes in front of one figure and then behind and in front of the other. Marvelous connection. So much to love.

  7. Carroleb

    Love your observations about Indigo and fading.
    I must play with that more.
    I have been enjoying creating lighter and lighter sky blues with my vats. For the ongoing sky cabin

  8. Dorrie

    Enjoy reading about your process and connection… as soon as I saw your trees I thought of their heads in the clouds… what fun 🤩

  9. Peggy McG

    The stitching and designs in The Connections Pairings cloth is gorgeous!
    I could look at this for hours and marvel at how your cloths and stories develop!

  10. Sharan

    Jude I love how your meandering thoughts and stitching story-telling weave and stitch this virtual community together … so grateful

  11. Jana Jopson

    Photo of two eyes peering through slats made me laugh out loud. Adorable. The dyed thread is beautiful. One of my favorite books growing up was about a young girl who was raised on an indigo plantation. That was my first introduction to it and some of its characteristics. Thank you so much, Jude, for every post.

  12. We have masses of acorns here too this year! My Gambel Oak stands are over 5 years old, and all have loads of acorns, and a few of the leaf clusters turned early. We’re heavy into rains now (Monsoon season) so everything is getting a much needed drink to refresh them.
    Your indigo is always so lovely! I have yet to try dyeing with indigo, but love to see what you do with it.

    • jude

      there were none last year. It was so dry. It is good to see them again. Hickory too and they are huge!
      Indigo has it’s own magic, but you really need to get to know it.

  13. Jen

    It’s so hot (& dry!!) here, I just want to get lost in your indigo blue, your cloud trees, and I love the story-telling connection piece.
    I have zero energy in this extreme heat…but I’ve done a little stitching ( doesn’t take too much energy to rock a needle, right?)
    Our trees are fading, dropping and dropping leaves…far, far too early.
    They say rain this evening, possibly….at this point; ill believe it when I see it.

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