Itajimi Shibori

20130605-130656.jpgItajimi (also Itajime) shibori scarf from Doshi‘s workshop at CNCH.

For this shibori technique, you fold your fabric into shapes and then clamp wood blocks onto the folded fabric as resist. In my case, I folded my silk scarf into fourths lengthwise before folding them into isosceles triangles. I used a rectangular block that bisected the triangle from the base to the vertex angle.

Doshi had an extra concentrated acid based dye bath going. It only took 5 minutes in the dye bath to get this beautiful indigo-like color. A quick cold water rinse and then we hung them out of the 5th story hotel window in the High Sierras for a few minutes and we had a ready to wear scarf!

Fun and inspiring workshop. I can’t wait to play with this technique some more.

It’s a wrap!

First trim attempt (aka sample)

Here’s the tubular to flat trim from the inkle on the previous post. I wove exactly to the length I measured, plus 1/2″ on both the tubular and the flat portion. Unfortunately, even though my measurements accounted for take-up on the loom, it didn’t account for the take up while tacking it onto the sketchbook cover. I ended up about 1″ short.

Back to the loom. Since I had only spun a small amount of the dark red in the stripe of the trim. I had used up all I had on hand.

Yes, I could have carded/blended more of that silk and spun it up. I just didn’t want to wait the extra day that it would take from start to setting the twist and waiting for the new threads to dry. So, I warped on again with just plain blue purple.

This time, I started with the flat ribbon portion of the trim and wove it to the length of the sketchbook plus 1.5″, then I wove the tubular piping until I ran out of warp. This ensured that I had enough to go all the way around the sketchbook.

I also made the flat ribbon portion a bit wider by not pulling the weft taut. This is harder to keep a clean edge but it had a better drape. The first ribbon was very firmly woven.

Specs: 20 ends woven on the Palmer Inkle Loom with spindle spun tussah silk of unknown origin. Finished length is approx. 61″, which maxed out the mini loom.

Here is the finished sketchbook, in all her glory. The third time is definitely the charm. (Version 1: submitted to CNCH Gallery. Version 2: added stabilizer to the back of the handwoven fabric.)

Revision #1

As I said at the bottom of this post, I wasn’t happy with the sketchbook cover I submitted for the CNCH Return of the Return to Sender. Then it won a ribbon. Darn. Now what do I do? Do I mess about with a ribboned item?

After a month of looking at it and thinking about it, I realized that ribbon or not, I wasn’t going to be happy with it in its current state. Therefore, the likelihood of me using it was close to nil.

What was wrong with it? The fabric moved around too much which meant the sketchbook would move around while I sketch in it.

Yesterday, I picked out the hem stitches and fused a medium weight interfacing to the back of the woven fabric as well as the inside flap fabric.

I really like the stiffness of the cover now. I don’t feel like the sketchbook is slip sliding around inside the cover now. Unfortunately, the extra bulk makes it very very snug. So snug that I really had to work to put it back on the sketchbook.

I gave the cover a few extra jets of steam with the sketchbook in place and let it rest overnight. The ease feels better this morning. I’ll leave it as it for a few days before I decide whether to swap out the stabilizer to a lighter weight one or not.

My current thinking is, if I like the weight and the stability of the fabric, then it should stay. After all, how often would I be switching out the sketchbook? Once a year? How often will I be holding the sketchbook in my hands? Hopefully, daily.

In the meantime, I have some spindle spun tussah silk threads drying. It will go on the little inkle loom this week and woven into an trim for the sketchbook cover. Does the cover need it? With the new stabilizer, probably not. I’ll decide after the trim is woven and attached if it stays or not.

Stay tuned.


CNCH Ribbons! (click to enlarge)

Look what came home with me from CNCH? A pair of blue ribbons!

Here are the judging criteria. Both of these received perfect scores. Yes, the sketch book, the one I didn’t like and wanted to re-work, received a blue ribbon. The note from the judge on my skein was that she would have given me sixes if she could (on a scale of 1-5). I am beyond tickled!

The beggar’s bag, however, did not win a ribbon. The judges disagreed on the scoring (14.5 and 25, respectively, out of 26 points). According to the notes, what aspect liked by one was the very thing that the other judge didn’t like. Ah, well. I was told to expect that. In any case, I still like the bag. And 2 ribbons out of 3 submissions isn’t bad, especially since this is my first juried show.

Now, I just need to figure out what to weave with my skein.

CNCH Gallery Submissions

Beggar's Bag (click to enlarge)

CNCH starts tomorrow. I’ll provide a report next week. In the meantime, here are some eye candy on a few of my submissions. Drop by the gallery and take a look if you are in the Bay Area this weekend!

The bag on the left is the Beggar’s Bag for the Traditions and Innovations Gallery.

Draft: Floral Dance Star Variation (Anne Dixon)
Warp: Borgs 22/2 Cottolin (natural)
Tabby Weft: 8/2 cotton (natural)
Pattern Weft:  assorted handspun handpainted BFL singles (purchased at 2011 Whidbey Island Spin In from Island Fibers, I think)
Construction: all hand pieced, even down to the zipper and  lining.

I definitely learned quite a bit on this project. Even after re-sleying, I think the sett is still too close. I found out later in my research that I should have sleyed it for a loose plain weave. This is why I had to go to a 8/2 cotton instead of cottolin for weft. It’s a good thing too since I ran out of natural cottolin.

Return to Sender Yarn
Return to Sender Batt

On the left is my Return to Sender skein, blocking on the skeinwinder. On the right is what the batt looked like before I started. The fiber is 85/15 BFL/tussah, dyed with natural dyes by Mary Finley and Roger Salter of Dreamy Goat Design Studio.

I split the batt into pure colors, and stripped out the mixed bits as my “in-between”. Spun the colors in progression as a fine single and plied it with an 80/20 “black” BFL/tussah (SOAR 2009 ? special — Bend, OR). You can see that the black BFL toned down the colors quite a bit, but still quite nice.

Weight: 4 oz. (2 oz. RTS, 2 oz. black BFL)
Yardage: 1,012 yards
Plies: 2
WPI: 44

I have one more gallery submission for the Return of the Return to Sender (yarn spun for the 2010 CNCH), but I forgot to photograph it before sending it on. I used an alternate treadling to Floral Dance with my 2 ply yarn and turned it into a sketchbook cover. Probably subliminal. I’m not that happy with the cover. I will likely re-do it after the conference.