Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Shibori with Osage Orange, Indigo, and a Bit of Cochineal

The fabric is a cotton/linen jersey I bought from Mood (the official fabric store for Project Runway) in New York City. Above, a detail that shows a color I take great pride in: turquoise! It doesn't appear throughout, of course, but if you look at the shading on the perimeter of the golden rectangles, there it is. Turquoise is hard to achieve with natural dyes, at least for me, and yet it's one of my favorite colors.

"Sawdust, Leaves and Bugs" is what I like to call the combination, and it's the title of a course I hope to teach soon at the Weaving and Fiber Arts Center. First, I immersed the entire fabric in a vat of osage orange dye, purchased from a friend, David Barnet, who is a master woodworker with the Rochester Folk Art Guild. (For more on this talented group of people, click here.) Second, I did some tying and clamping -- using techniques that are jokingly called "dirty shibori" -- before immersing it in a vat of cochineal. In this case, the cochineal wasn't as bright, perhaps because I used the vat once before: It doesn't really show up on this fabric, other than lending a red-gold hue in the center of the rectangles above.

The last and best part, of course, was to dip the fabric five times in an indigo vat. Before dipping, I used a number of shibori-resist techniques: arashi, where I wrapped and tied it around a piece of PVC pipe; knotting, in which I simply tied four overhand knots in a length of fabric; folding and clamping with rectangular blocks of wood; and folding and securing with closepins.

My favorite results are on the back (pause for snarky comment: of course), where I used the arashi-shibori technique of wrapping the fabric around a PVC pipe and then tying with cord.

 This is the back of the garment

A closeup of the back, showing that elusive turquoise

I made another top, using similar techniques, and the results were completely different. My thinking is that the amount of fabric exposed to the dyes was very different in the two garments, which meant that the color blending was entirely different as well.

Sawdust, leaves, and bugs yield wonderful results! Thanks for reading!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Here's the Coat I Wove with S and Z Overtwist

This coat is woven with handspun overtwist singles, as I wrote about a couple of posts ago. (I did not include the blood, sweat, tears, and toil that went into it as well....)

Three kinds of wefts made three different fabrics: the checks on the front used both gold and burgundy as weft yarns, while the back was woven with only the gold yarn as weft. Which you see here.

The sleeves and inside front panel used burgundy yarn as weft -- shown below.

I am loving this coat! The fabric collapses and crinkles wonderfully, adding flexibility and interest to the garment, which is my own design. (Partly out of necessity, because I barely had enough fabric to make a jacket, let alone follow a pattern.)

I knitted the color using a brioche stitch from Barbara Walker's first volume of knitting stitches and added a Dorset button for a decorative closure. It isn't really used as a button, because I secured it with a sturdy hidden snap -- which I prefer on fabric like this, because it's hard to create a buttonhole that doesn't stretch and distort the fabric somewhat.

It's for sale in my Etsy shop, but I am not so sure that, ultimately, I won't keep it for myself. Those are the perks of making your own garments: If you like it, it CAN be yours!

What's on the Loom?

More accurately, what's going on the loom? At this writing, I'm in the process of winding on a painted warp for a Jin design on 28 ...