by Catherine Ellis
Catharine Ellis wrote the book, “Woven Shibori”. While attending HGA Convergence 2016, I had the privilege of taking a class with her, Natural Dyeing and Hand Woven Shibori. This was not a hands on class, but a lecture with a wealth of information she generously shared with us.
Examples of Cloth as woven and dyed with natural dyes by Catharine Ellis
Pulled Shibori example by Catharine Ellis
If you’ve followed my blog there have been several posts on Handwoven Shibori pieces I’ve created. All my work has used synthetic dyes, At one time Catharine also used synthetic dyes, but today she only works with Natural dyes. The variety of colors She achieves with her techniques is amazing.
Works created by Catharine Ellis with natural dyes
My future to do list now includes more Woven Shibori dyed with natural dyes.
Almost 2 years ago I wove and dyed 3 some yards of Handwoven Shibori fabric. The dyed fabric reminded me of the tranquil waters in the Bahamas. I wanted to make something to wear, but what? In my mind I envisioned a dress, but there wasn’t enough fabric. The Shibori fabric would need to be the focal point in the dress. So I wove another 3 yards of solid color fabric in a simple 8 harness twill, using a cotton/silk blend. The Shibori fabric is made from 8/2 Tencel. These two fabrics were used to sew the dress using Simplicity 1586 pattern. I modeled the dress in the Contemporary Handweavers of Texas 2015 conference fashion show this past weekend. The back of the dress also has the center panel of handwoven Shibori fabric with side panels in the twill fabric. It only took 2 years but I accomplished my goal. The challenge now is to find a use for the remaining fabric. What do you envision creating?
Crimp weave sample
In January I attended Dianne Totten‘s Crimp Weave Workshop put on by the Contemporary Handweaver’s of Houston Guild.
My loom was setup to do weft Shibori which meant I needed to use a polyester or Orlon yarn in the weft to create crimp cloth. These two types of yarn are heat sensitive. The warp could be any fiber I wanted to use. I used a teal 10/2 bamboo with a few stripes of silver 8/2 Tencel. The threading was an advancing twill. As a workshop the point is to try to weave as many samples as possible. After the samples are woven and taken off the loom,the pattern threads are pulled tightly up. Next the piece is steamed, and pattern threads are removed. The result is crimp cloth, fabric with permanent texture.
Sample on loom.
Black threads are pattern pull threads.
Samples above were made during workshop. Different yarn types, sizes and combinations of yarns were used in weft to create the samples. The possibilities are endless. Now what weave structure to try next?
Just finished dyeing one of the 2 Shibori- handwoven scarves woven earlier this year. Actually the dyeing took place last Tuesday as the temps were dropping, but no warmer days to do this in the near future. So the dyes were prepared In the garage. The scarves with the pattern warps pulled have Procion MX dyes painted onto each side. The scarf was then rolled up in plastic wrap. The temps outdoors had dropped below 70 degrees, so no curing to be done outside in the sun. The scarves were microwaved to steam the dye and left to sit inside until the following day to rinse out. Procion MX dyes need temps above 70 degrees to set.
The completed Boysenberry Handwoven Shibori scarf. It reminds me of the petunias in my garden this summer.
The second scarf was dyed with a Royal Blue and Green. The patterning has a wood grain effect.
I like to experiment and the two scarves in this blog use different techniques. The scarves were each hand woven using a black rayon yarn in both the warp and weft. A pattern yarn was woven in a twill pattern one pick every 6 ends. These pattern threads were later pulled and knotted along each selvage. At this stage the scarf is put into a solution of bleach and water, to remove or disperse the black dye. The scarves are allowed to dry. Now I began to experiment by applying Shiva paint stick to one side. The copper highlighted areas in the finished scarf above is Shiva paint.
Handwoven Shibori scarf after weaving. See the pattern threads.
This scarf had Procion MX dye painted on one side of the scarf after dispersing the black dye from the rayon yarn this is done before the pattern threads are removed. Experimenting is fun way to get new looking pieces.
In need of wash and press
Unfinished projects. I hate to say how many I have. The trouble is that a woven project is not done until it’s washed and ironed,
the fringe is twisted,
Fringe to twist
Mistakes need repairing.
The Dyeing process is completed.
Projects are sewn.
Labels sewn on and final ironing.
Labels to sew on
Some projects are as time-consuming off the loom as on.
Finishing is where I get bogged down. How about you?
This fella was outside my door, drying his wings.
Busy weaving handwoven Shibori scarves. This one, I took off the loom yesterday. The pattern threads I am pulling and knotting for dyeing. The next scarf is half woven using a different pattern.
Wish my flowers still looked so nice. The heat has taken its toll.
Dyeing Handwoven Shibori
I found this unpublished blog entry so I will publish it even though the finished fabric was shown in the post “Finishing Projects”. With temps reaching 86 degrees today, it was time to dye before the heat of summer is upon us. The handwoven Shibori snake was finished months ago. Since I don’t have a place to dye inside my home I need to wait for the weather to cooperate. The dyeing takes place in my backyard on the deck. I place an old plastic shower curtain on the table to protect it. The water for prepping the fabric to be dyed, was heated inside the house. Soda ash is added to the hot water as is a mild soap, then the fabric to be dyed. This is soaked for 30 minutes. The Procion MX dye is mixed outside with distilled water. I use two colors when dyeing my handwoven Shibori. One color on the top side and one on the back. The dye is applied with a stencil brush. Plastic wrap is under the piece being dyed. When I’ve finished dyeing the snake the plastic wrap is folded around it and the snake is rolled up to batch. The piece sits for 48 hours before rinsing out the dye. Once the Shibori snake has dried the pattern threads will be pulled out. You can see the Shibori dyed fabric on the post “Finishing Projects”.
Handwoven Shibori yardage
The Handwoven Shibori yardage has been pressed and is ready to be made into something wearable it has a nice drape being 8/2 Tencel. The dye penetration is not as even as I would have liked, but it does create an interesting horizontal pattern.
The honeycomb runner made with linen and jute to outline the cells looks lovely on the table. The jute transitions from purple, blue, light green, yellow, orange, hot pink, then reverse back to purple. The back has long floats. For handbags or clothing this fabric will require lining. I have some novelty silk from Habu, I would like to use in the future with this weave structure.
Honey comb runner back