Ikat

Offwhite cotton warp on a stone tile floor.
Cotton warp, tied off for ikat dyeing.

I’ve been stressed about things at work, trying to combine it with some (technical/administrative) work for Atelier Drie Linden and the last struggles remaining from my work as a consultant/independent developer. So I’ve been dog-tired last two or three weeks as a result of that. On top of that it does horrible things to my concentration at work, which makes me feel useless, which makes me feel bad, makes my sleep troubled and … you get it, it kinda feeds on itself until you pull out the plug.

So I took the week off to do things I like doing, like weaving. I’ve been wanting to do some weaving at home for some time now, but never really getting to it. And I haven’t been weaving at school either.

I’ve enrolled for the module “dyeing and binding off” a number of weeks ago, which is part of the weaving studies I’ve been doing for the past two years and a half. And I’ve been enjoying it so far. I had enrolled for that same module last schoolyear but due to circumstances I hadn’t been able to finish it, but now I’m determined to. Nothing is going to keep me from it.

So far, we haven’t gotten to weaving yet, but we’re getting closer. Last week we started off with ikat, our next to last part of our warp before we put it on the loom.

Ikat meansĀ binding off a part of our warp for dyeing, the places you tied off won’t be dyed. You can do this with your weft as well, but at school we’re only doing the warp for now.

It is something I’ve been meaning to try, just as I’ve been meaning to try “printing” on the warp when it is on the loom. The ikat was wonderful, the monotonous, repetitiveness of it is really good for emptying my mind. I had to suppress the urge to break out in song, something to accompany the work I was doing.

However, on the train ride home, I had the horrible realization that I had tied off the wrong part of my warp and would have to start over again. And with that, the satisfaction of having done something useful sapped right out of me.

Cotton treads on a warping board tied in packets with raffia ribbon.
One section of the warp being tied off with raffia ribbon.

This week however, after undoing all my work from last week (including winding the warp back into a ball), I realized that I hadn’t tied off the wrong side after all and that regardless I had to start from zero again because I had already undone everything. I wish I had this realization earlier… But never the less, I spent both Tuesday and Wednesday warping and binding of my warp.

At first, I found it uncomfortable to be binding off for ikat, but once I found a rhythm it was quite enjoyable. It’s just as “rhythmic” and repetitive as spinning if you want it to be and I find it is really good for emptying the head. At home, with the radio playing, I quite enjoyed singing while doing this work… some pedestrians passing by the window might have even caught me doing a dance step or two.

Ikat

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