Yesterday was the Autumn Equinox, and the beautiful northwoods of WI now has beautiful color.
Meanwhile, I continue with woven shibori scarves since all but one were sold during the art tour.
It’s always good to see the number of warping sticks go down!
I was hoping for three scarves and another long piece that would, after dyeing, be cut up and used for smaller items. Unfortunately one of the scarves had a one row treadling error which I did not notice until after dyeing. Happily, my daughter wants it and does not mind.
The next part of the process is to gather and tie, as tightly as possible, the “pattern threads” which are removed after dyeing.
The pieces were left to dry outdoors for a few hours, then brought inside. They are not opened until dry, or nearly dry if I cannot wait to see the results.
Due to the tight gathers, when first opened the scarves are quite crinkly, reminding me of collapse weave. However, the scarves must be washed and well rinsed to remove any dye not attached.
Scarves are hand-washed in a mild soap, then repeatedly rinsed until the water is clear. After air-drying they are pressed and fringe is hand-twisted. The results are,…
The goal is for each scarf to be unique. One more warp and it will be time to explore new ideas.
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 consisted of two scarves, one sample, and a length that would be cut into four pieces and will be made into smaller items.
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.
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.
It is still magical, watching the wovens change from a green/blue to the beautiful shades of indigo blue.
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!
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.
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.