Kikko Turtle Shell Dyeing in Seattle

After my wonderful, restful time on Whidbey Island, I was ready and excited to attend my second class with Takayuki Ishii. I returned to Botanical Colors in Seattle for another magical dyeing experience and it was fabulous! 

In our second class we learned to dye a Kikko Turtle Shell Gradient using a Sukumo Indigo vat that Taka had just finished making. It dyed beautifully with rich, deep color!

To achieve the "turtle shell" design, we began by marking hexagons on linen and cotton fabrics.

Next we folded, stitched and wove the three pieces together.

We also stitched on strips of fabric. We soaked the project in water then dyed in the new Sukumo Indigo vat.

It took Taka 10 days to make the Indigo vat with the Sukumo he brought from Japan. To make the Sukumo, he grew the Indigo, harvested the fresh Indigo leaves, dried them and composted them over the winter. The amazing color was the incredible result of his hard work.

We rinsed and removed all the stitching from our fabrics. They were then rinsed and soaked several times.

Our gloves were not adequate for the job, so we all had beautiful blue hands. Proof of our wonderful Indigo adventures!

As a final project we made a wall hanging from the linen and a Noren (curtain) from the two cotton pieces. They all turned out just gorgeous and were such a joy to create!


Kathy Hattori, the owner of Botanical Colors and organizer for the workshops, had a great popup shop for us that we all thoroughly enjoyed. This wonderful polka dot Noren was in the entry to her office and was very inspiring!

On our way home, driving out of Seattle, we saw the MOUNTAIN! Spectacular Mt Rainier, simply known as The Mountain to locals, stands over 14,000 feet tall. It is an "active" volcano and was clearly visible although we were 100 miles away. It was like a warm goodbye hug from Washington and the marvelous dyeing adventures I had there. I'm sure I'll be back someday!

It's different from the Sukumo vat that Taka prepared for us, but I do have Indigo Vat kits for you on my web site now that you're inspired. These are all natural vat kits that you can use safely and confidently to create your own Turtle Shell Gradient fabric. The kits have everything you need except the bucket! Click here to shop the vat kits. While you're there, check the links on the left side of the page to explore the other Indigo dyeing supplies I have for you. I've chosen carefully and you'll find many items that are not readily available elsewhere. 


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