Always Magical

Woven shibori, with pattern threads in teal.
Woven shibori, with pattern threads in teal.

At last, I was nearing the end of this warp, threaded as an advancing twill on 8 shafts and using 8/4 teal rug warp for the pattern threads, and 16/2 Bockens cotton for the plain weave.  On these pieces, I was treadling in random order, and varying the number of plain weave rows.

The last of this warp, just removed from the loom.
The last of this warp, just removed from the loom.

The last of this warp consisted of two scarves, one sample, and a length that would be cut into four pieces and will be made into smaller items.

Soaking in water prior to indigo dyeing.
Soaking in water prior to indigo dyeing.

Later the next afternoon, I set up in the garage for indigo dyeing, setting the now gathered and tied pieces to soak in water while mixing up a new indigo vat.  I then measured indigo out into two more smaller buckets for “diluted” dyebaths for achieve a medium and bit lighter shades of indigo.

New indigo vat with "flower' forming on the surface.
New indigo vat with “flower’ forming on the surface.

The new indigo vat worked well, forming the “flower” on the surface, and after skimming it off (and setting it aside, to return to that vat when finished), the dyebath was the greenish color it needed to be.

A sample changing from greenish/blue to indigo blue when exposed to the air.
A sample changing from greenish/blue to indigo blue when exposed to the air.

It is still magical, watching the wovens change from a green/blue to the beautiful shades of indigo blue.

Designs in one section of the long length of fabric.
Designs in one section of the long length of fabric.

After the wovens have been exposed to air and turned indigo, I give them a good rinse in a bucket of water, squeeze the water out, and hang them on a wood rack to begin drying.  When they are dripping, I move the rack into the house and turn a box fan on to encourage them to dry a bit faster.  Why?  Because I am a bit impatient to snip the knots along one selvedge, begin easing the gathers out, and pull the pattern threads out the other side so I can see the designs achieved from that particular threading and treadling.  Keep notes!

Detail of a shorter piece.
Detail of a shorter piece.

I then take and wash them, by hand, one-at-a-time, in Seventh Generation soap, and then rinse repeatedly until the water is clear. They are placed in a lingerie bag and run through a spin only cycle to remove excess water, and again, hung on a wood rack to dry. Before they are totally dry, I press them with a steam iron, hang to dry, then press again, and again, hang to dry.

Three of four pieces cut from the long length of fabric.
Two of four pieces cut from the long length of fabric, on the left, and a sample, on the right (dyed slightly darker).

I have two scarves left to finish, both needing twisted fringe.  Though it is early April, we have a snowstorm due tomorrow evening and overnight, a good time for that project.

Now, it’s time to decide on the length of the next warp, do my calculations, move the warping mill out, and get it made.  I’m thinking this time it will have the “pattern threads” run warp-wise.

Indigo dyer extraordinaire, Glennis Dolce (Shibori Girl) had shared a sample of warp-wise indigo dyed fabric with me, perhaps a year ago when I first started this learning adventure, and asked when I would warp up my loom for it.  I believe the time has come!  I will be using 16/2 cotton again, not as fine as the sample she sent me, which was likely machine woven, but should be another good learning warp, and if it turns out I must send a sample to Glennis.

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