September 17, 2017 – Starting our ikat project

Frank presented a detailed, hands-on overview on how to get started on a project that will continue for a few months. Ikat is a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles. Bundles of warp threads are tied securely before they are woven so that they will resist dye when they are immersed in a dye bath. The ties are then removed before being put on a loom. This produces patterns in the cloth made with the undyed areas of threads. It is a time-consuming technique used by a number of cultures.

Frank had a warp that he has created that is ready to dye. In the photo the areas that look red and purple are warp threads that are tied together with red and purple plastic tape that is designed to keep dye from the threads. These areas will remain white when the warp is immersed in a dye bathe. The frame is simply a way of holding the threads taut so they can be tied with this tape in a pattern that the weaver would like to leave undyed. The warp threads will be removed from the frame, dyed, and then the tape will be removed before they are threaded onto a loom for weaving.

undyed warp stretched on frameThe process of putting the warp on the frame and tying the bundles is complex and exacting. We spent much time learning how it was done and planning projects to create. More will be happening in the next months.

This is a video of member Phyllis Karsten tying a piece of plastic resist onto a bundle of yarn: