Monday, April 25, 2011


Another practice piece. I'm please with how it turned out but there is always something I can learn. This was done two rows of running stitch as Hira-nui on the large motif and one row on the smaller.

One thing I noticed is that I didn't pull up the 'free' fabric well enough in the middle of the stitching in a couple of spots. The center and left side of the large design as well as left and upper of the small one. Even though those areas weren't stitched, because they were still compressed a bit they didn't get the dye as well as the areas I had pulled out properly.

You can also see the difference in the veining on the one side compared to the other. It matters if you pull out the little puffs to one side or the other. The darker veining is the side where the puffs were out.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Arashi Shibori is done by wrapping the item, in this case a silk scarf, around a pole or pipe. PVC pipes work really well. They're cheap and lightweight. They also don't absorb dye like wood. String is wound around the scarf to hold it in place. You get a different look depending on if you wrap the string around in the same direction or the opposite. After it is bound to the pipe it is pushed down to one of the of the pipe. If you twist it a bit as compressing it, you get a bit more ragged edge to the stripes.

This was the first time I did stripes of dye. I thickened it with sodium alginate, which is seaweed, so it wouldn't bleed or drip. I mixed it about 1/2 teaspoon per cup of water so it was more like paint. Not nearly as this as the green dye in an earlier post. The alginate also seems to help it hold onto water better. It has to stay moist for the dye to react properly.

The lines and color bands are in a zig-zag because I folded the scarf in thirds before wrapping it around the pipe. I did 4 stripes, 2 blue and 2 purple. Using a larger diameter pipe, or doing only 2 stripes would make the color bands different.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I did several practice pieces for the Shibori class I took. For this one I stitched it all in one batch, but pulled the thread and dyed differently. Once a yellowish green, then blue. So I got four colors from 2 dye baths.

The larger squares, rays in the star and the outside row of the football shape were pulled up before dyeing and left in for both colors so they stayed whiter.
The blue lines were also pulled up before dyeing, but they were let out after dyeing yellow and before the blue. The yellow lines were pulled up after dyeing yellow but before dyeing blue.

The blue stripes were stitched as Ori-nui. The others were running stitches. I used stencils to help plot out the stitching lines.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Another practice piece done for the Shibori class at the Textile Center. Stitched with running stitches, soaked in soda ash then dyed. The colors are a bit much for me but I wanted to see how the color bands would look. The green in the center looks different because it was thickened to almost jelly like consistency. The other colors spread a lot more. I'm not sure I like how it looks . It makes the stitched part less noticeable because the dye doesn't cover as well.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Vine and leaves

An example of Maki-nui stitching for the long vine and Hira-nui running stitch for the stylized leaves.
Again, using black fiber reactive dye on silk shows how the color shifts.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


This used to be black. It was stitched then bleached. You can't see the design very well. But it is interesting that it turned kind of orangeish, rather than gray.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Look, different colors.

I really like how bronze looks on silk. It doesn't have much color shifting either, it's pretty consistent.
The stitching on the bronze one is Miru Shibori. Instead of using one thread to go the length of the fabric and connecting all of the circles, I stitched and tied off each half circle (the fabric was folded in half) independently. You can see how much clearer the circles are at the center.

Compare the bronze one to the purple sample. The stitching where they're touching isn't as distinct as it is at the outside. The fabric is compressed differently depending on how the threads are run. The purple is closer to Karamatsu Shibori.

Waves and circles

The stitches closer to the edge are Maki-nui Shibori. It is a kind of overcast stitch where you work the needle almost in a spiral along a fold of fabric.

The curved lines to the inside are Ori-nui Shibori. The fabric is also folded, but the stitches go through the fabric from front to back.

The circles in the middle are done similar to Karamatsu Shibori, but I only did one row of stitching rather than filling the circle. The hankie was folded in half so I only had to sew half circles using one long thread.

The curves are a bit uneven. I didn't follow my marked lines very well. But it is practice.

You can see the color shifting on this one more than the others. I even stirred this batch well.

Square and dots

Another sample I did for the class at the Textile Center. Again folded in quarters as a triangle. The spots around the outside were made by placing a small bead inside and wrapping thread around it. It is Ne-Maki or Kanoko Shibori when wrapping the thread around a tiny pinch of fabric. I’m not sure if there is a name for placing a bead inside first. A practiced Shibori artist can form very consistent dots without beads, but it can make them easier to form them for someone that hasn’t been practicing for years.

It surprised me how the dots are so square. The bead was round and when I wrapped them they looked round. But I noticed that the squares are all oriented on the bias. I’m guessing they’re square because of the how the silk stretches a bit on the bias.

The center of the hankie has a color variation across the middle. The lower right section was folded to the inside so the dye couldn’t get to it as easily. The front and back of the hankie are slightly different, but not much. I’ve also noticed color variation like this when I did a sample and it was folded in half and wasn’t stirred. It looked like the dye settled out of the water and sat on top of the fabric.


The next hankie I did for the class was also folded in quarters, but squares instead of triangles. You can see the color is a little darker along the fold. It was also stitched as Mokume Shibori, with 3 rows of thread for the outer band and 4 rows for the inner band. The markers in the corners were just a few stitches.

The color for this one (and the next few samples coming) was actually lapis blue. The below picture is a batik cotton knit shirt dyed with the same color to show again how silk will dye a different color than cotton. I really like the colors both fabrics turned out. And the variation on the silk is interesting, it shifts color rather than being lighter and darker like the cotton. So it looks, to me, like it is shimmering.

I did a better job of lining up the layers so the folds didn’t affect the pattern like the previous sample.

Have I mentioned how handy silk hankies are for practice? A lot cheaper than scarves and you can play and figure out what will happen for a lot lower price.

An excellent instruction and reference book is Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada.


I took another class at the Textile Center in Minneapolis and learned a lot. I like to look at my projects and figure out why something turned out that way. Then I can either avoid it or try to do it again.

This one is a silk hankie folded in quarters and stitched in the style of Mokume Shibori. It was actually dyed with a black dye fiber reactive dye but silk takes the dye differently than cotton. I got a nice plum purple.

Most dyes are made of particles of different colors, especially black. You don't have a jar full of black particles, you have a jar full of different colors that combine to appear black. Or at least that is the hope. Black is really hard to get. Paula Burch has some great info about why this happens. There are a limited number of ‘sites’ on the silk fiber that can bond to the dye. Think of Tinker Toys and how the connectors only have 6 or 8 holes for the rods. Fiber only has so many sites to bond with dye. It can be hard to get enough of the dye to attach to the fiber.
Also, the different colors have different particle sizes. So they move through the water and into the fiber at different rates. With Shibori, this can give nice shadings and variations. You can see that the areas that were only somewhat 'resisted' are more blue than purple.

The corners of the stitching aren’t as consistent as I wanted. The inside fold slipped a bit away from the outside. If it were cotton it wouldn’t be a big deal to put in some basting stitches to hold it together better. But silk is less forgiving and the needle holes can show more.

And you can see a string coming off the label. The little labels on strings you get at the office supply store work well to mark them with what color and techniques you used. After a while, it’s hard to keep track of what you did.