Friday, September 16, 2011

Faded photos

This reminds me of old, faded sepia photos. Both the color and the variation of it. The technique is Katano Shibori. It is done by carefully fan or accordion folding the fabric, ironing it and stitching through all of the layers. Think of a sandwich and you spear it with a bunch of toothpicks. The stitching needs to be done from top to bottom one stitch at a time. You can’t do like you’re quilting it and trying to get a lot of stitches on the needle before pulling the thread through. I also needed to have the pattern marked on both sides so I could get the lines sewn properly. For me, it worked better to do some tacking at the corners and edges to keep the stack in place until I got some rows sewn.

When planning the layout you aren’t supposed to have any areas that are completely enclosed. The dye needs to enter the sandwich from the sides. The thickness of the stack won’t allow it to soak through all of the layers. And it needs to be swished around in the bucket more. Although mine are still kind of mottled because I like that better. Looks more hand dyed instead of factory printed. Depends on what look you prefer.

Both pieces are about 14” wide. I just kept folding them in half so I wouldn’t have short lengths of fabric left at the end since I didn’t want to cut and hem when I was done. By looking at just one of the sections you can tell how I stitched it. The set of three lines on the fold were where I wrapped the thread right on the fold. The scattered dots are single stitches.
The first one is a piece of cotton hemp cloth to practice and work out the technique. I didn’t put any waste or extra fabric on the top and bottom - like the bread for the sandwich – so the end got a lot more dye than the parts in the middle. Since it was a practice piece I didn’t feel like it. And I think it looks striking this way. It’s odd how much darker it is but the pattern of the lines is the same.
The second picture is a silk scarf and the cotton fabric to protect the ends. I think it is neat how color reactive dye will work on both cotton and silk, but be slightly different colors. These were done in chocolate brown. The silk is more rosy.

Again, the technique is well described in the book Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada.

I have got to figure out something useful to do with my practice pieces. I’ve done a few zippered bags, but how many does a person need? Especially lighter weight fabric or the silk hankies I like to practice on. And the design on some would look odd. Although I know I shouldn’t care since it is a practical item, I still want them to look right.

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