Friday, November 7, 2014

Going Green with Weld and Indigo

The technique is known as "Arashi Shibori" -- that is, using Japanese shibori-resist techniques to achieve patterns on cloth. The arashi version of shibori creates a striped design, because the dyer wraps fabric around a pole, wraps rope around this to secure it, scrunches the fabric down and repeats the process until the entire piece of fabric is wrapped and tied.

The top above was made with a medium weight cotton muslin, which is very inexpensive -- maybe $5 a yard -- and wonderful to work with! I first immersed the fabric in weld, which produced a vivid yellow color, almost neon. (The important thing to remember, when dyeing cotton with natural dyes, is to pre-mordant the cotton with aluminum acetate, NOT aluminum sulfate. I use an over-the-counter topical astringent known as Domeboro, available online and from your local drugstore. I figure about one packet per ounce of fiber and immerse it in the mordant overnight before dyeing.)

After dyeing and drying the fabric in weld, I next immersed it once or twice in an indigo vat, producing the lighter green you seen on the fabric. Finally, I did the arashi wrapping around a PVC pipe that was 8" in diameter -- as large a pipe as I could get my hands on, thanks to my good friend Joy Duskin. Wrapping, typing, scrunching is exhausting work and it took maybe an hour to prepare about two yards of fabric for immersing in the indigo vat. (The entire project took four yards of fabric.)

The result was the dark green horizontal stripes on the fabric. Sort of a forest/jungle/fern feeling, don't you think? I was very happy with the way it turned out -- which isn't always the case with dyeing, I have to confess.

This pattern is from Linda Lee's Sewing Workshop, which is a great source of creative patterns for artists. This is the pattern known as "Kinenbi Top," which is discontinued, but still available on Etsy and other sites. I highly recommend the Sewing Workshop patterns because they are well thought out, easy to understand, and well detailed: finished to a "T" and that's without even mentioning how attractive they are.

If you want to learn more about this pattern and how it worked for me, visit my review at -- another source for people who love to sew.

The piece is for sale this weekend at the Weavers' Guild of Rochester Holiday Show and Sale. If it doesn't sell, I will have another chance at the Pop-Up Art Show and Sale next weekend at the Old Pickle Factory in Pittsford. Maybe I will see you there!

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