Tentative shibori

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Shibori on plain weave cotton with synthetic blue/turquoise dye, pull thread woven in 3/1 twill.

In the picture above you see the shibori I’ve done at school as part of the assignments. To be honest, I didn’t follow any rules except mine. I had no idea of what I could do with shibori, only knowing that I had to weave in a “pattern thread” in to my fabric. This pattern thread needed to be pulled tight (very, very tight… you fingers will need to be sore for the next few days or you didn’t do it right), then tied and then the fabric will need to be dyed.

So yeah, if I hadn’t been so quick to decide “oh a twill will be fine” then I hadn’t been in the mess I was in. I had already threaded half the heddles on my loom before my teacher caught me and told me I could do more than just a twill… then you have that dilemma whether to pull out all the threads and start over, or continuing.

Let’s be honest, I wanted to weave that rainbow I had dyed up and I had already given up on that shibori even before I had woven it, let alone dyed, so I just continued my recipe for disaster. (yes it was all part of one warp)

My fabric is a plain weave, because really nothing weaves faster than a one color plain weave. The pattern thread is a 3/1 twill that I’ve woven into my plain weave at various distances and as per usual I forgot my camera and I don’t have anything to show you but the endresult. But you can still see some sort of striping on the fabric, that’s where the thread had been.

Now, what’s wrong? The pull thread I’ve used to weave in, was thicker than the cotton I’ve used to create the fabric with, meaning that it leaves obvious holes in the fabric once pulled out.

I had already realized that would happen, but I still wanted to make something of this shibori and for the first time this semester I was a bit hesitant about dumping loads of mordant- and dye-solution on it. I still wanted to see some sort of creasing color pattern (to say the least).

So, once I had tied my fabric into something that resembled a big shrimp, I didn’t want to totally immerse it in the mordant and the dye solution because I was terrified that there would be no pattern at all to see. So I sprayed on less mordant solution and less dye than I normally would have if I would dye in a rainbow fashion. I did my best to just dye the “good side” of the frilled fabric shrimp. But when I turned it over to rinse it, I discovered that I still had big parts of undyed fabric.

Deciding I’m going to wing it anyway, I put it in the spin dryer and took it home with the explicit instructions to only cut loose the pull thread when it is completely dry again.

And so it happened, this is the endresult. The fabric gives a slight illusion of still being creased, but it was ironed flat after rinsing it with vinegar solution to deactivate the mordant and having handwashed it in hot soapy water and dried again.

All in all, I like this fabric, it came out a bit lighter than I had wanted it to be, but you can definitely see the creases. However I will need to experiment with this some more and do this at least once the way I should.

Tentative shibori

Dyeing with the door open

regenboog01
Rainbow dyed cotton warp.

I’ve worked like crazy to get my warp done last week, I didn’t even get to card or comb the wool I had planned to bring along. And I should have known, but the Saturday was so crazy busy that I didn’t even get to preparing the cotton warp for dying aka boiling it in soda ash for an hour. Let alone that I could take pictures.

I had loads of fun though, talking to people about what I was doing in the dye kitchen with my big pot of weird red stuff (cochineals) and later the brown stuff (the madder root). And explaining what techniques were used on the samples laid out concerning the dyeing process.

My dad and one of my nieces made the trip to Ghent to come and see what I was doing! It was really wonderful to see them. I spent far too much time talking about weaving…

Sunday however, I was so dog-tired, I had a brief one second thought about just staying in bed and let the other weavers muck about in the dye kitchen. But then I thought about maybe getting to dye my warp and checking on the wool I left in the madder root dye bath overnight. Needless to say, I was out of bed and on my way at 6 in the morning on a Sunday… (I’m crazy, I know)

Sunday was a lot calmer in terms of visitors, but a highlight in dyeing because I found time to put a part of my warp in soda ash for an hour AND I got to dye it as well. Loads of people were interested in what that brightly coloured yarn was doing next to the big pot of madder root…

I took the leftover dye home and dyed the rest of my warp at home. Which is still drying but is looking gorgeous.

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drying rainbow warp.

I think I talked about this before, but in case I haven’t: I use synthetic dyes (Procion) for this rainbow dyeing. I use only red, blue and yellow and then mix my colors. In contrary to dyeing in a dye bath, this is more or less done cold. More or less because the cotton is boiled in mordant solution, lightly spun dry and then immediately painted. The salt solution (to urge the dye onto the yarn) that is sprayed on after an hour or so, is also hot and the soda ash solution you spray on to fixate when you’re done, is also hot. The cold thus refers to the fact that the cotton throughout the dyeing process is cooling down from being in the mordant but doesn’t get reheated.

I can’t wait to put it on my loom!

Dyeing with the door open

Rainbow dyeing the ikat warp

I told you about the ikat warp I was so excited about making, right? Well, this week we took it a step further. I asked my teacher if I could dye it using the rainbow dyeing technique we learned the week previous. The normal exercise would be to dye the ikat warp in a unique color, but since I already have practice with that, I wanted to try something a bit different.

Now, the thing with dyeing is that you have to wait to find out what exact colors you’ve created until after it has gone through the whole proces _and_ it has dried (unless you’ve got a whole color library ready to go). So as you understand, these are hugely important reasons to get out of bed early ;-)

So this morning I checked it and wow:

Rainbow dyed ikat warp
Rainbow dyed ikat warp of unbleached cotton, tied off with (natural) raffia ribbon.

Now “rainbow dyeing” as we use it at school isn’t really about dyeing a rainbow. It’s a sort of “uncontrolled” dyeing process, by which I mean that it will not give the exact same result twice. This is up for discussion though because you can recreate the colors and you can attempt to recreate the pattern in which you dyed, but the key for me is that I’m free to use as many colors as I want with just three stock dye solutions: yellow, magenta and cyan. Now, the cyan, wasn’t really cyan because of reasons and a little more royal blue, but the idea is the same.

I didn’t fancy mixing color solutions to create the colors I wanted because lets be honest, I’ve done that many times before. Now however I just wanted the stock solutions to create a color scheme for me. So I’ve put the yellow, magenta and blue where I wanted it to be and voila!

Raffia

I tied of the ikat with raffia ribbon, right? Well, my reasoning is that since raffia is a plant and it roughly contains the “same” qualities as the cotton, I’m fully expecting it to not have blocked all the color out of the tied off areas. If I would have used synthetic raffia, I wouldn’t expect the dye to “bleed” through the tie off. Since I’ve only used natural raffia, I can’t compare (yet). Still, I was curious this morning and removed just one. Understand that I’m risking the wrath of my teacher because I am not to remove any of the ties until it is safely on my loom.

Undone ikat tie on the rainbow dyed warp.
Undone ikat tie on the rainbow dyed warp.

And behold: the area where I tied off the warp has taken a very faded yellow as opposed to the orange-pink area around it. Which is more or less what I expected and yet I’m curious what the rest of the warp will look like.

Next week we’ll be putting it onto the loom!

Rainbow dyeing the ikat warp