My Sew Sew Life-Yoga Totes Redux


Indigo Shibori Yoga Totes

Note on photo: The photo shows the front and back of the bags. One side has the double pockets and the other has the large circle motif.


During the last day of a Natural Dye class (last summer) at the Kansas City Art Institute, our instructor gave us a wonderfully generous mass of cotton. I had to turn this into something. The something that emerged was Yoga Totes for my yoga-practicing daughters.

Yoga Totes is a project combining three disciplines: dying, knitting (using a Bond knitting machine), and sewing. The main components are white cotton (from Dharma), white Shetland yarn (from me—well, from my sheep first), blue cotton lining (Hancock Fabric), and various machine embroidery threads (from anywhere). The bags are deeper than  regular totes.  This leaves room for blocks, extra clothes, and in a pinch a mat can be thrown in (it does stick out,  however).

Pre-reduced Indigo was used for both home and class pots. Dips were from anywhere from 15 seconds to three minutes were used. The wool yarn had the shortest dips. Caution was used because I didn’t want the alkaline environment of the Indigo to hurt my acid loving wool.


Our Fancy Indigo set up-a 5 gallon bucket-notice how  green the Indigo is. It will turn blue when it hits the air. 


Before the fabric was dipped, I created different patterns using Shibori*. I clamped, twisted, tied and banded. My favorite motif is the flower-type shape on the band and main body of the bag. These flower shapes were created with our old castrater gun for the sheep, the green castrating bands, and marbles. That tool has definitely been re-purposed!


Closer view of the fulled machine knitting with the machine embroidery

The knitted wool pockets were fulled in the washing machine. Not wanting to hand knit something that was going to be fulled, I finally learned to use my Bond knitting machine. I was very lucky that two Bond knitting gurus were at our last KC Fiber Guild retreat and got me jump-started. I would like to give a big thank you to Leslie and Shirley for their patience and expertise.

Finally, I put some of my machine’s decorative stitches through their paces and created my first embroidery with my embroidery component. The radiating sun fit in the yoga theme that I wanted and that motif was built into my machine.


Another nice little touch if your machine will let you-put the name of the recipient inside the bag-nothing like the personal touch!

This project combined three things that were fairly new to me: natural dying, machine knitting, and machine embroidery. Sewing is an old friend, going back to my very early youth. Shibori is not new but I had not really created much using it. Taking a Shibori course at KCAI simultaneous with the natural dye class certainly helped combine both disciplines.

*Shibori is the Japanese art of tie dying.

OK, so this photo is really unnecessary-but had to add the Poodle (Niko) eye candy!



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