Sunday, March 16, 2014

Attempts at Shibori

In the second post for High Noon in January I had included a picture of a piece of fabric prepared for Shibori-dyeing, which drew a positive comment from Claire. To which I replied that I would finally do something to this piece, which had been waiting for a long time, and that I would do it ‘this month’. That was February. Nothing like a public statement to put a bit of pressure on yourself! On February 28 I finally mixed the color with which I wanted to dye the various pieces I had prepared, some of them long ago, some just recently.
These are photos of stages of the process:

Wetting the pieces to slow down the process
of the colour molecules binding with the fabric
(I learned that when translating for Jan Myers-Newbury)

Each piece gets its own container, although they
will all be treated with the same colour

Not a whole lot of water, although more than with
Low Water Immersion Dyeing

Set out to dry before removing the pebbles

I was lucky in that I had a visitor last week who turned helper for removing the stones – my supporting dyer Regine, who already was a companion when I was dyeing the samples collection that finally led to the beginnings of my fabric club and dyeing business. This time, she was paid well with several litres of freshly brewed ginger-lemon-tea.

This is what the pieces looked like after removing the pebbles:

And here the pieces are, completely washed and ironed.

I am very pleased with the results. First, I am glad I did not use white fabric, but fabric that had been dyed once already. Secondly, I am quite satisfied that the blue I used now was not too dark, although it will be interesting to experiment with other, darker types of colors for the overdyeing. Thirdly, I really like the effects of the tied-in stones. The different types of tieing I used - evenly spaced and very close together, small and large stones, more or less apart, and different amounts of thread tied around yielded interesting and different results. Each has its own charm.
There is a lot of experimenting ahead of me. Even though I don't really feel drawn to wrapping fabric around poles and tyeing it - mostly because of the limitation in size of fabric pieces that can be treated. But there are many pieces in my collection that promise interesting results. And take a lot less time than tieing in pebbles. Which I will still do more of, this was so much fun (except the taking-out-the-stones part of it...).


  1. Hi Uta,
    Have you tried using elastic bands instead of string? They are a little easier to take off for removing the stones.
    The last 4 blue ones have an interesting 'atmosphere' about them.
    Sandy in the UK

    1. Yes, Sandy, I have used elastic bands when I was doing tie-dye T-Shirts with the little kids in my son's kindergarten several years ago. They are indeed easier to take off. Actually, it didn't cross my mind to use them here - I'll try it out. I do like the effect of the string, and as I remember the reservation with the elastic bands wasn't quite as effective as the results I've achieved with the string. But that may have been due to the fact that the T-Shirts were dry when the colour was put on, and I had wetted the fabrics here. Certainly worth an experiment, thanks.