Blue story

A mystery linen shirt, a hedge top, a cauldron and a summer sky are the main characters in this post. Today I give you a blue story.

Ms Klein

Once upon a time there was a shirt, a white linen shirt named Calvin Klein. At leas that was the name on a tag at the back of the shirt’s neck. One morning, sky blue with just a few fuzzy clouds, she found herself casually draped over a hedge in a residential area, a very peculiar place to wake up in for a white shirt. Her back ached and she wasn’t very pleased about her situation.

A hedgerow conundrum

The house occupants were puzzled about the shirt’s arrival in their hedge, a perfectly fine white shirt, hanger and all. They confered for a while and decided to leave it in the hedge for a couple of days in case someone recognized it as theirs. But nobody claimed the shirt. The mother of the house decided the teenage daughter would be the new guardian of the shirt. And so Calvin came to stay with the family in the teenager’s closet.

A white linen shirt appeared on our hedge one morning in the late -80’s.

This was over 30 years ago. Calvin was worn and enjoyed for many years. For a while she was too small and for another while just fine again. The owner wasn’t much of a white shirt wearer, though. Still, Calvin was worn on a beloved auntie’s funeral only last summer.

Blue is coming to town

An indigo dyer came to town and offered a dip in their cauldron to clothes in need of some vibrant blues in their lives. Calvin had got some mysterious stains, and the now 50-year old woman figured Calvin would be the perfect candidate for some indigo dyeing.

When the woman was about to scour Calvin to make her susceptible to the dye she discovered some torn spots in the armpits. She put a linen patch behind the spots and made neat stitches with linen thread to protect them from further damage.

Dyeing Day

The dyeing day came. The woman rode her bike the nine kilometers to the museum where the dyeing was to take place. She met up with her friend, she too with garments to dye, and together with lots of other people looking for some more blue in their lives and wardrobes, they began to dip their textiles in the cauldron, that looked a lot like a large plastic tub. The friend had brought two pieces of natural linen folded into cubes to experiment with some shibori-style dyeing.

The indigo bath had a yellow-greenish colour and a compost-like smell. Yet, the two friends trusted the instructors and kept dipping. And there was magic. Once they took the textiles out of the cauldron the limey green started turning blue. They swayed the sopping wet textiles in the air and watched the blue magic happen.

Learning curve

This was the first time the woman had dyed with indigo and she made lots of mistakes. But she learned from them and got a first sense of what it is like to dye with indigo. There was lots of dipping, drippning, airing and laughter. Some rain too.

After a few hours, cauldron (and stomachs) was almost empty, the rain plenty and the woman really had to pee, so the two friends gave their dyed textiles a final wash and went their separate ways.


Wet and hungry and with soaking wet textiles in her backpack, thee woman rode her bike the nine kilometers back home. She tossed the garments into the washing machine and got a lovely dinner that her teenager had made.

The following day the clothes were dry. They were a bit lighter than she had expected and a little more uneven that she had hoped for. But still, very beautiful. Calvin was very happy with her new look that reminded her of the sky that day when she had woken up atop the hedge.

Nice and orderly in the armpit.

And the mending? It turned into a beautiful blue too.

Happy spinning!

You can find me in several social media:

  • This blog is my main channel. This is where I write posts about spinning, but also where I explain a bit more about videos I release. Sometimes I make videos that are on the blog only. Subscribe or make an rss feed to be sure not to miss any posts.
  • My youtube channel is where I release a lot of my videos. Subscribe to be sure not to miss anything!
  • I have a facebook page where I link to all my blog posts, you are welcome to follow me there.
  • I run an online spinning school, welcome to join a course! You can also check out my course page for courses in Sweden.
  • On Patreon you can get early access to new videos and other Patreon only benefits. The contributions from my patreon only benefits. The contributions from my patrons is an important way to cover the costs, time and energy I put into the videos and blog posts I create. Shooting and editing a 3 minute video takes about 5 hours. Writing a blog post around 3. You can read more about my Patreon page here.
  • Follow me on Instagram.  I announce new blog posts, share images from behind the scenes and post lots of woolliness.
  • Read the book Knit (spin) Sweden! by Sara Wolf. I am a co-author and write in the fleece section about how I spin yarn from Swedish sheep breeds.fleece section about how I spin yarn from Swedish sheep breeds.
  • In all the social media I offer, you are more than welcome to contact me. Interacting with you helps me make better content. My private Facebook page, however, will remain private.
  • I support Centro de textiles tradicionales del Cusco, a group of talented textile artists in Cusco, Peru who dedicate their work to the empowerment of weavers through the revitalization and sustainable practice of Peruvian ancestral textiles in the Cusco region. Please consider supporting their work by donating to their causes.
Liked it? Take a second to support Josefin Waltin on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

6 Replies to “Blue story”

  1. Loved this 🙂 Thanks.

    Glad that Calvin appeared, contributed to the good life & then for an encore – turned blue.

  2. A beautiful ‘blue’ story that was not ‘blue.’ It was interesting, delightful, inspiring and happy. I love the finished look.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.