Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer Blues - Woven Shibori Part 1

I found some new ways of weaving Shibori, and have been having lots of fun with my rigid heddle loom and the Indigo Vat.

Woven Shibori creates a tie-dye effect by weaving in a strong pattern thread that can be used to gather and tie up the fabric (after it is removed from the loom) and create a resist when the fabric is dyed.  

These scarves were all woven with white wool yarns, polyester kite twine for pattern threads, and overdyed with natural Indigo.  Here you can see the white pattern threads (the polyester did not take up the dye).  After they were dyed and untied, the texture created by pulling the threads tight still remained.  This three dimensionality will always be there a little bit, but it can be lessened dramatically by gently steam pressing (wool setting used here). 

The first two are a style called Taiten Shibori, in which the pattern threads are woven right in as if they were just part of the weave.  In the top sample, the pattern thread is in the warp, which means the weaving is all just single shuttle plain weave! 

The bottom sample has the pattern thread in the weft (so it's a two shuttle weave - one fabric yarn and one pattern yarn).  My example used a kind of a random Fibonacci sequence in placing the shots of pattern thread.

Notice how the pattern ties are only a suggestion to the dye, and the dye sometimes goes in unexpected and exciting directions!

When the Taiten pattern threads are removed (after the fabric has been tied up and dyed), there will be a lace-like gap in the fabric.

The next three create the pattern by using a pick up stick with the pattern shots.  In these, the pattern thread is a supplementary thread and is not part of the plain weave structure.  When this thread is later removed, there is no gap - just a solid plain weave fabric.

The lower two both use a random pick-up in front of the reed.  
This one is on a closed shed (heddle in resting slot) with pattern pick-up every 4th shot.

And this one is on an open shed (heddle in lower shed) with pattern pick-up every 6th shot.
The white patches and those little white dots are where the pick-up went under the threads and wove into the fabric.  The blue areas are where the pick-up went over the threads to create a float.

The final sample uses a set pick-up behind the reed (giving a regular repeating pattern) - you use the pick up thread every 4th - 6th shot and only in the lower open shed.
You'll notice that in the "group" shot, this one has a single solid blue weft-wise stripe - that's where I pulled too hard and broke one of my pattern threads before dyeing.  Looks kind of cool though.

On Sunday next, my rigid heddle study group will gather to do some woven Shibori, and the following Sunday we have our big Indigo Dye Day - so there's more Summer Blues coming up!  (I'll try to take some process photos too)


  1. I know this was one of the old post, but I'm a new weaver and have been thinking about making shibori weaving when I came across your blog. I have a question for you. Can indigo dye wool well? Thanks Nat

    1. These scarves are all wool! So yes - Indigo is great for any natural fiber - all the animal fibers (including silk) and all the cellulose fibers as well (cotton, rayon, etc.)