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.
The 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:
Deborah Chandler, a name well-known in the weaving world, has been working for many years with Guatemalan handweavers to help them find a way to sell their beautiful work at a fair price to help support their families. But she also understands the economic challenges this creates. This is a thought-provoking discussion of the dilemma faced by handweavers, as well as many artists and craftsmen, not just in Guatemala, but throughout the world.
Source: The Industrial Revolution’s Latest Conquest
Most of us do at least some of our projects and experiments using natural dyes. And many of us know Kathy Hattori who has a company called Botanical Colors. Kathy has recently been in Alaska finding dye sources and is featured in a short video by Jenny Nichols called Wild Alaska. Here is a look at what she has found.
Wild Harvest: Alaska from Jenny Nichols on Vimeo.
On this warm day we met to once again experiment with our indigo pot. There were seven of us: Phyllis, Sandy, Sharolene, Ann, Anne, Natalie, and Laura.
Ann’s shawl on the left was originally bright pink until it was dipped into the indigo pot. And her shirt on the right was bound into pleats with rubber bands at the neck and the hem for a decorative resist when in went into the pot.
Natalie, one of our new members, is also learning to spin on a wheel that has a history and is in need of some tweaking. Several of us helped her determine that there was a bit of a wobble when the wheel went round but we think she can make an easy fix.
She was also able to experiment with a simple resist pattern dipped into the indigo pot.
Laura was our guest who has been fascinated to learn more about indigo. She changed some items in her wardrobe from white to rich indigo blue.
We experimented with immersing items in the dyepot for a longer period of time versus repeated dips to see if there was a color difference. There did not appear to be but we will see if the color fades less in the one we left in the pot longer.
We also discussed ways to connect with others like Natalie and Laura who might like to share in our adventures with spinning, dyeing, and weaving. A very nice day!
We had our usual indigo dye pot and a cochineal dye pot as well. (Cochineal comes from a small beetle that lives on cactus pads!) We are also making kumihimo lanyards for the Conference of California Handweavers (CNCH) meeting in 2018. Here are some photos of some of our efforts. Of course, Phyllis’s dog Flicka had to take a look too.
We met, as usual, in Phyllis’s back yard on one of the hottest afternoons of the year. We came prepared with fibers and fabrics that had earlier been soaked in an alum solution (called a mordant in fabric talk). There are various elements that can mordant fiber. All help the dyes fix to the fabric and often affect the kind of color the dyes provide. Alum is a safe and easy-to-use mordant.
We are always interested in learning what we can about using natural dyes produced by plant and animal products as opposed to dyes created in a chemical lab. People have used these dyes for thousands of years to provide color in there fabric and sometimes even to paint their bodies. (We are sticking to just the fabrics.) Today we are using osage orange (Maclura pomifera) twigs and cochineal (Dactylopius coccus) produced by tiny bugs that live on cactus plants. We will also use some indigo (a plant dye that produces blue) on some of our fibers after they have been dyed yellow or red.
Anni introduced us to the wide range of colors that can be produced by natural dyes.
We then set to work with our own fibers. Here are some of the results of our day of dyeing.
We meet on the third Sunday of the month from 12:00 to 3:00. But in October 2017 we will meet on October 29th ( fifth Sunday) due to various conflicts.