Tuesday, July 21, 2015


One of the things we like to do at quilt camp is dye fabric, scarves, and other items using the Japanese method of resist dyeing called Shibori - which actually encompasses numerous ways to shape and  compress fabric before dyeing it, resulting in surprising and delightful patterns.  You can never completely control the process, so each piece is unique.

Last week, one of the things Sue started off with was preparing fabric with several methods of Shibori to be dyed by immersion dyeing, using up the last of her cobalt blue dye with a bit of Kingfisher blue mixed in.  One of the projects she needs to get started on is for a group exhibit project called "Fly Me to the Moon"; Sue's quilt is to be based on the song "Moon River", so she is attempting to create some fabrics that might be used in this piece.

One piece was pole wrapped, another had marbles banded into the fabric, a third was folded and clamped between wooden circles, and the fourth was accordion folded and banded with rubber bands. Below the fabric is folded and wrapped around a pole (PVC pipe) and wound with string, not too tight so it can be scrunched together as in the second photo.

Compressing the fabric acts as a resist and prevents the dye from penetrating into all the areas of the fabric.  Small glass marbles are inserted in the fabric in the other piece and secured with small rubber bands.  Again, the bands act as a resist and the bound areas absorb less of the dye.  I don't have before photos of the other two pieces, but you can get an idea from the results.
Here the pieces are all "batching" in the bucket of dye - it required a container large enough to cover the fabric wrapped around the pole.  They were allowed to sit about 24 hours.  Here are the results.
This is the pole wrapped piece.  More dye is absorbed on the outer surfaces.  The inner layers are lighter.
The marble piece is folded so you can see both sides.  Notice how on one side, the circle centers are greyer than the other; the greyer circles are the inside that was against the marble.  The bluer color is what was on the outside.
This piece was folded in half lengthwise, then in thirds.  The wooden circles were placed above and below and clamped together.  You can easily see how the  clamped area resisted the dye.  One of these might make the right sized moon, maybe with some more texture added.
This last piece was done to use up some more of the dye, and added after the others were taken out, so the dye was 24 hours old.  Usually the color is not as strong as the dye gets older.  This one was accordion folded and banded at intervals - the vertical white lines are where the rubber bands were placed and the darker horizontal lines were the folds in the fabric.

Today we made an indigo pot and dyed more Shibori pieces in it.  Those results will be shared in another post.

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