Dyeing · Embroidery · Stitching · Workshops & Courses

How Do You Do Blue?

Even after hooking up twenty skeins of indigo-dyed yarn to complete the Marguerite blanket, it would seem I still couldn’t get enough of blue.


At a recent workshop, there had been the usual genial chatter: new exhibitions, books, artists etc. At some point the conversation got to subscription boxes. For the uninitiated, it’s essentially paying to send yourself a present you really want. It’s a box of goodies related to your interest, whatever that might be.  This sort of thing. In our little creative gathering there were two in particular we were excited about.

Perfect for stitchers who are fans of the pretty vintage style are boxes from The Linen Garden called This Hour of Mine. Each contains themed fabric, threads, notions and other little surprises. The idea is to inspire and encourage you to find quiet moments for yourself and make a suggested project. Everything is so beautifully and thoughtfully packaged that they are a real delight to open. Have a look at some of the lovely creations #thishourofmine. Admittedly I’ve not got to that stage yet. I’m still enjoying inhaling the clean floral scents every time I open the lid and unhurriedly exploring the contents.

Boro boxes from The Border Tart have been so popular, they’re currently sold out! Boro is historically associated with the necessary repair of indigo hemp garments in rural Japan. In your modern day little Boro Box you will find a piece of backing fabric, threads and a variety of new and vintage fabrics from countries where indigo blues are favoured. Your fragments can be patched together using hand stitch to create a panel that you could make into a bag, cushion, glasses case, whatever.


Lynn, of the One I Made Earlier Today blog is always full of good ideas and suggested we spend a boro-inspired day together at textile artist Anne Brooke’s studio. And so the Boro Box Day was born. Everyone received a box with slightly different contents. What added something special to this perfectly relaxing day though was sharing additional fabric we’d brought ourselves. A piece of my daughter’s old dungarees swapped for a piece of a friend’s husband’s shirt… All of our pieces are now connected and personal.


Stitching gives amazing strength and texture to fragile snippets of cloth. No special threads or needles or anything precious was used so we could be playful and happy to let our pieces evolve. Areas that didn’t quite work were easily covered with new patches and we all left with something so easy to pick up again and work into further. I found the stripey fabrics great for trying out patterns with the lines acting as a guide.


Feeling inspired to create my own blue fabric, I booked onto a Shibori class at Space4Craft with excellent tutor Mo. I had so much fun folding and dipping fabric into a big vat of indigo. After a 20-minute dunk, the pieces were left for another 15 to oxidise. We watched in wonder as green transformed into shades of blue.


After a good rinse, we could unravel our cloth for the exciting moment of reveal. Cue lots of ‘ooooooohhhhs’! These were samples I made with simple concertina folds, wooden pegs and lolly sticks.


‘Borrowing’ eldest daughter’s white vest top without asking got me into some trouble. In my defence, it was an old one. Her littlest sister rather liked the effect created with screws and elastic bands though and has claimed it. She wants to have a go herself now.

There are so many areas of interesting pattern on my samples that I can patch together and I’ll certainly be adding a fragment to my boro piece. For now though, I’m wondering what colour June will turn out to be?

2 thoughts on “How Do You Do Blue?

  1. I’ve got a big smile on my face, can you see it ? I’m so happy to have been able to introduce you to the boxes. I’m with you on not getting past opening and closing the This Hour of Mine one. They are wrapped to beautifully and smell divine.
    Your dyeing results are wonderful, especially your daughters’ top. Great results.
    Thanks for the mention. Hope to see you again soon
    Lynn xx


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