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!

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