I sampled! Yup, for the first time I actually sampled before leaping into a finished product. And I have to tell that I am glad that I did, although I am not saying that I will start sample everything, I just don’t have the patience and, really, in weaving there are no mistakes that can’t be fixed, or used in some way!
What I sampled was Woven Shibori. Shibori is a traditional Japanese technique for dyeing cloth with a pattern by stitching, folding and/or compressing the fabric. The method for Woven Shibori is that you weave the cloth (background) at the same time the Shibori threads are added. The Shibori threads are supplemental weft (or warp) threads, they can be added randomly or as a separate woven structure from the background weave. The Shibori threads (or loops) are left hanging off the sides of the piece; it looks very funny and a little messy. Once the fabric is off the loom the loops are knotted on one side, then the fabric is gathered against the knots, the tighter the better and knotted again.
The sample above is a natural coloured 2/20 Tencel/Cotton warp and the weft is a natural coloured 2/10 Cotton and the Shibori weft is blue 2/8 Orlec. The Shibori weft needs to be a very strong yarn as there is going to be lots of pressured applied to them when the threads are gathered. The background weft is woven as twill which makes a diamond pattern, the pattern weft or Shibori inlay half of the sample is also woven as twill. I tried two different placements for the Shibori wefts one set closely and one that is set two times further apart.
The sample was about 7 1/2 inches wide before I gathered the blue Shibori threads, a similar technique to smocking. The sample compressed down to 1 1/2 inches, with a lot of effort! For kitchen safe sampling I used apple cider vinegar to condition the piece and to make it take the dye; and two colours of Kool-Aid for dye. The sample was dipped half in orange and half in red. Then the sample was set out to dry before the blue threads could be taken out. It seemed to take a really long time to dry!
It was truly scary to cut the knots and pull the blue threads out to see what I had produced. And it is so cool! I love the little diamonds and the different saturation of the dyes. The sample should be pressed but I like the diamonds too much! But the scarf will have to be pressed because the variations will be more apparent. The above picture is the back side of the sample.
I can’t wait to see what the scarf is going to look like! I think that I am going to be brave and use Procion MX in a fuchsia colour. I am so excited!
As a side note, we would like to thank everyone for their kind thoughts during this scary summer. The fires are still raging, and in BC we have about 150 new fires every day! We had a fire in the Provincial Park just 2 km away, scary.