Over the past few months, I have been trying out a large variety of Shibori techniques, including Arashi, Nui, Itajime, Mokume and Kumo. While some of these methods require stitching with thread, others use blocking processes. For blocking, I have tried out wood, plexiglass and fabric. The possibilities for items to use as a resist are endless.
My most recent Shibori stitching work is Mokume stitching. This involves using a running stitch, after which the threads are pulled together. The pulled threads resemble smocking and the stitching and folding acts as a resist. The dye penetrates the fabric through these resists. Hence, a pattern develops showing where the dye has bypassed the resist. Undoing the threads is always a surprise!
So, the resulting image varies, depending on how many folds the dye must penetrate. With Mokume shibori, the stitched parts resemble wood grain. The above photos show both single and double folds.
The stitching, pulling together of threads and knotting are very time consuming.
A small piece of fabric with a minimum amount of stitched shapes can easily take 2 hours or more to stitch. Thus the term “slow fibre”. When the stitching is completed, the fabric is dyed. I enjoy the effect of several colours on one piece of fabric. All my dyed fabrics have a minimum of 2 dye colours on them.
These sample pieces will be sewn into shoulder bags, pouches or small day backpacks, using cotton broadcloth and other fabrics for the backpacks. When finished, these items will be posted on my Shop page.
I often re-use dyes up to 5 times, as long as they are still giving colour. Although the colours become more muted and subtle after they have been used several times, they can still be very appealing.