Saturday, November 21, 2009

Woven Shibori: The Last 2 Samples

I suppose if I make some more samples at home, the post will have to be called "Woven Shibori Returns." ;) Anyway, for these last 2 samples I tried a couple of things just to see what happens.
sample 7: before

Sample 7: 3/5 twill, weaving only every 3rd pick (123, 456,781, 234, etc.). Wefts are 6/2 green cotton, 7/2 green cotton, 10/2 white cotton, handspun paper yarn. Removed sections of some threads, pulled and immersion dyed in dark blue.

sample 7: after

This one was fun. I used some cottons that I had partial bobbins of to make stripes, interspersed with some handspun paper yarn I made in a class with Jennifer Falck Linnsen last spring. It felt a little stiff when I was weaving, but the finished cloth is very flexible and maintains a nice texture. It took the dye well, too. The dye penetrated the cloth more where the paper was so lines aren't as clean, but I'm not sure whether that has to so with the nature of the paper yarn or the fact that its stiffness made it harder to gather up tightly.

The thinner cotton definitely made a cleaner pattern. With the twill reclining to this degree the diagonals still show up but they are broken up into sections instead of making long lines. All in all, a nice texture and lots to think about as far as materials and pattern.

sample 8: before

Sample 8: 4/4 twill. Wefts are 10/2 cotton, ecospun polyester, and poly/cotton, with 10/2 cotton alternating with one or the other of the polyesters. Pulled, immersed in dark blue dye, steamed to set pleats.
sample 8: relaxed

I wanted to see what ratio of poly to cotton is needed to maintain pleats, even though the cotton does not heat set. The 1/2" stripe of cotton does not seem to be affected at all. The 3/4" stripe seems looser but doesn't really bubble out much. The 1" stripe of cotton dies try to flatten itself out between the poly stripes and creates a nice contrast.

sample 8: pinned open

It was also interesting to see how the 2 polys dye differently. The pure poly does not dye at all in the fiber reactive dye, but the cotton/poly takes up some of the dye (although not nearly as much as the pure cotton). Now I need to search out some polyester yarn of my very own to experiment with. This whole permanent pleat business is very exciting.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Woven Shibori Part 3

sample 5: before

Catharine mentioned that of you use a 3/5 twill instead of a 4/4 twill, the 2 sides of the fabric will be patterned differently if you dye each side a different color. Had to try that! Also, if you would skip pick of twill, the lines would be less vertical and more horizontal. Since the gathering threads are only places every 4th pick (or more) the twill lines can be quite steep. So.............

sample 5: blue side

Sample 5: 10/2 white cotton weft with stripes of silk noil, reversing reclining twill (skipping all the picks that start with even numbers), pulled and direct dyed with thickened dyes.

sample 5: pink side

The fuschia is VERY fuschia, would have mixed a color if I had it to do over. ;) But it's a sample. I really like the effect. There are 3 stripes of silk noil in it, it's a creamier white than the cotton and took the dye differently. A little more vibrant, and more of the color from the opposite side shows though in those stripes.

sample 6: before

Sample 6: poly/cotton weft, 3/5 twill blocks, cut out some thread segments, pulled, direct dyed.

sample 6: relaxed

On this one, I left some narrow bands of cloth with no gathering threads between patterns. Since all of the weft has polyester, the pleats are permanent but those bands are more organic-looking. Not nearly as rigid and formal in its geometry as sample 4. The section where I pulled out partial threads bubbled up nicely. It should make a great effect on something, just don't know what yet.

sample 6: pinned open

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More Woven Shibori

I guess I should say a little bit about what woven shibori is. In traditional Japanese shibori, a woven cloth has threads sewn into it with a running stitch. The threads are then gathered tightly to form a resist, a place in the cloth where the dye cannot penetrate. The cloth is then dyed and the gathering threads removed. In woven shibori, your are weaving the cloth yourself and using a supplemental weft (a different thread) to put the gathering threads in the cloth as you weave it. A very cool trick, if you ask me. The hand sewing of traditional shibori takes many hours. Woven shibori only maked the weaving take a little bit longer than it would anyway, nowhere near as time-consuming as sewing each thread, stitch by stitch, individually by hand.

taiten: before

The way you get patterns dyed into the cloth is to thread your loom to a certain pattern, like a twill, overshot, bronson lace, monk's belt, etc. You can also use plain old pickup, as in samples 1 and 2 from yesterday's post. Instead of weaving the ground cloth (what will be left after the gathering threads are removed) in that weave structure, you usually weave the ground cloth in plain weave and use the pattern shafts to place the gathering threads in the cloth.

taiten: after

Sample 3: mock Taiten. 10/2 white weft, then stripes of 8/2 unmercerized blue, lavender and green. Pulled and immersion dyed in dark blue.

Taiten is a traditional Japanese shibori method, but they put the gathering threads in the warp. In this version of taiten, all of the gathering threads are part of the plain weave ground cloth, woven into the weft. When the gathering threads are removed after dying, there are rows of holes where those threads used to be.

sample 4: before dying

Sample 4: 3/5 twill, ecospun polyester weft. disperse dye heat transfer while flat, pulled and immersion dyed in dark green, steamed to permanantly set pleats.

sample 4: relaxed

I've never woven with a ployester yarn before. This was a singles yarn, so it twisted back on itself a bit while I wove but it was totally worth it to get this result. Polyester is a thermoplastic fiber, which means that when you apply intense heat (like steam) to it, it changes shape and stays that way unless you apply intense heat again. So, the pleats are permanent and washable. The pleats follow the lines of the twill, as do the green lines of dye. The fabric was compressed to such a degree that the dye only penetrated the outer edges.

sample 4: pinned open

You can see the diamond in the middle, that's the heat transfer dye. You take thickened disperse dye, paint it on paper, let that dry, then iron it onto a fabric with polyester yarns and the dye adheres only to the polyester. The immersion dye, in contrast, only dyes the cotton yarns. Pretty great effect for not that much more work than weaving!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Woven Shibori Class

Catharine, Helen and Dotty

The class was a blast! I made 8 samples over the course of 3 days. The loom was warped with 10/2 white mercerized cotton at 24epi, 12" wide and threaded to an extended point twill. We used cotton embroidery floss for the pulling threads. I think I'll post a sample or 2 a day so as not to have one monster post.

fresh off the loom: samples 2 and 1

So, here is Sample 1 (on the right side of above pic): pickup on a closed shed, threads pulled tight and dyes applied directly to the cloth. The weft is 10/2 white mercerized cotton. I wanted to try a variety of spacings and patterns, so I wound up with some small, organic patterns and a few big bubbles of color (below). I painted one side with watered down blue, and the other one with less diluted fuschia. Might be a nice way to try for a landscape sometime.

sample 1

Sample 2 (left side of undyed pic): pickup on an open tabby shed, direct dyed, the pulled tight and immersion dyed. This one has the same 10/2 cotton weft. You wind up with more half-tones because some of the pulling threads are in the tabby shed.
sample 2: after the direct dying

I hand-painted yellow and fuschia dyes randomly. The immersion dye was dark green. The 2 sides look so different that I'm posting both.

sample 2: side 1

sample 2: side 2

Friday, November 13, 2009

HGB sale, Woven Shibori Workshop

The HGB sale went very well. I sold a 44" diameter knitted lace tablecloth for a very nice price, so I'm pretty jazzed. I've caught up on laundry and sleep, and got my loom warped for the Woven Shibori workshop with Catharine Ellis that I'm taking this weekend.

Catharine is great! Very open, kind and knowledgeable. I'm going to bring my camera tomorrow so I'll have some pics to show you. ;) She gave 2 talks at the guild meetings earlier this week, one on how she came to figure out woven shibori, and the other on contemporary lace. We were all inspired afterwards, and I was doubly glad I hadn't given up my spot in the workshop when I had second thoughts last month.
If you have never heard of woven shibori or want more information, check out Catharine's website

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Handweavers Guild of Boulder Annual Show and Sale

Check in for the sale is tomorrow, the opening in Tuesday night, and the sale itself runs from Wednesday through Sunday. If you like textiles or art at all, this is the place to be. 100-150 members of the guild offer their handwoven, hand knitted, handspun, pieced, dyed, painted, hand crocheted, hand beaded, and handmade paper items for sale. It's free to get in, but only you can decide whether it's free to get out. ;) More info at

Over the past few days, I've tagged, logged and packed up 77 items for the sale plus 3 items for the Member's Showcase, a juried show within the sale. This will be my 5th year in the sale and my 2nd in the showcase. Wish me luck!