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.
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.
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
This project has been a long time in process (see earlier post: Handwoven Shibori on the Loom). I just finished creating the “snake.” It is 3 1/2 yards of plain weave fabric with pattern threads in a twill weave. The pattern threads which are pink have been pulled tightly. These threads were woven in after every 8 shots of plain weave weft. It took way too long to pull up these threads. The next step is to dye the piece. The dye will not be able to penetrate into the folds of fabric created when pulling the pattern threads. I’m hoping temperatures will cool off from the 90’s with high humidity that we’ve been having so I can dye this piece outdoors. The question is what colors should be used? One color dye will be applied to the front and a second to the back. For now this remains a piece in progress.