Firstly, may I apologise for putting this in the wrong place last week.  I created a new page instead of a new post, so you can find it if you search for shibori, but otherwise it wasn’t in the normal blog page!  You can imagine my perplexity when I wanted to check something, and couldn’t find it!!  So I’ve published again so it appears in the right place! 

Shibori for texture is something that I really discovered at Kay Faulkner’s shibori class in the UK in December 2008.  I had read the Woven Shibori book by Catharine Ellis that has a chapter on supplementary warps written by Kay that uses shibori in the warp, and her workshop was the perfect opportunity to try it out.

Weaving for shibori entails 2 warps, or 2 wefts, or both.  In warp shibori, your main warp is woven plain weave in something like a cotton yarn which has plenty of body but not too thick.  I use 3/18 or 2/12 usually.  The shibori supplementary threads in the warp are placed in a ratio of your choice.  We used 6 plain weave ends to 1 shibori end  For a short sample warp, you don’t need to beam them separately, but for a long length, it is advisable to use two warp beams, or a separate dowel that you can weigh to separate the two warps.    For your shibori warp, it is best to use something a bit thicker than normal and very strong.  Mercerised crochet cotton is good, and Kay uses fishing line.  You don’t want it to break when you are pulling the fabric up on the shibori warps, and you need to knot it securely so that the puckers are held in place when you are finishing the fabric (or dyeing it – after all, shibori is mostly known for its dye resist capabilities!).

The plain weave can be threaded onto 2 shafts if you have an 8 shaft loom, or over 4 shafts if you have spare shafts.  This helps to ease the burden of lifting on just 2 shafts, and can be kinder to the warp threads. 

Keeping the threading order going, thread the shibori warp ends in a point order on your remaining shafts. 

To create the lumps n bumps, you do a point lifting too, creating diamond shapes with your supplementary shibori warp threads, like this…..

You can vary the size of the diamonds, if you like. 

The simpest stuff works the best, as with so many things. 

Here are the visual results after the shibori ends were used as pulling up threads, and the fabric bunched up and then knotted.  I used a polyester weft, and then the fabric was steamed (it got a little scorched on the steamer!!) so the polyester held its shape after the shibori ends were removed.  NB Allow the fabric to dry fully before trying to pull out the shibori warp threads.  If you don’t, it’s really hard work!!  (How do I know????!) 

  Front side      Reverse side

I also used alternate shibori warp ends and create square blocks or blocks on odd shibori ends versus even shibori ends.  Try it and see what the results are.

I have a thing for water, waves, ripples, that kind of thing, and it was oh so simple to create waves and ripples with this technique.  Here are the waves I did in the workshop, and they were created by weaving only half of the diamond shape and then repeating the same element again and again, with different amounts of plain weave for each block. 

  Front side   Reverse side

That was the start of my explorations in shibori.  I’ve done loads more since and had a lot of fun.  You’ll be able to see some of my results in a few weeks time, but until then, I’ve some more texture techniques I’d like to share with you.

Next week is a waffle weave that is really delicate…. 

Until then, have a lot of fun weaving!!