(This blog post was originally published November 4, 2010 on my first blog site, which is no longer in existence.)
When I last blogged about woven shibori scarfs I was warping my loom with commercially dyed rayon chenille. After weaving the scarfs I planned to first overdye them with Dharma Brilliant Blue fiber reactive dye, which was pretty much the only color that would work with red and pumpkin. Then I would tie the resist threads, and overdye again with Dharma Jet Black.
It took a while, but now the results are in, and by the way, Woven Shibori is awesome.
With a two-block Monk’s Belt for the pattern, I wove the first scarf with pumpkin weft, and did an immerson dye bath. For the second scarf, woven with red weft, I painted the dye on just like I do with painted yarns. For the record, painting the dye is the preferred method from now on.
When you do an immersion dye bath with fiber reactive dyes, the process is fairly labor intensive. You have to mix the dye and the salt with the water, immerse the fabric or yarn, and stir constantly for about 10 minutes. You add the soda ash at prescribed intervals, and stir some more. With yarn, this isn’t so messy. With woven fabric, it feels more awkward stirring a piece of stiff, wet rayon chenille and you really have to watch for splashing.
When the first scarf was rinsed and dried and the resist threads were tied, I did another immersion dye bath, this time in Dharma Jet Black. The black rinsed out into charcoal gray, however, and I think I must have gotten the measurements wrong for the weight of the scarf. But, still, I quite like the result.
The columns of dyed areas flow back and forth with the stripes in the scarf quite nicely, and I think the color values work well.
For the second scarf, I painted the Dharma Blue on, just like I paint yarns. First I soaked the piece of fabric in a tub with water and soda ash for about 20 minutes. Then I wrung it out, and put it on a table lined with plastic. I mixed up the dye in a plastic bottle, then squirted iit on the fabric, working it in with a foam brush. Easy peasy. No splashing involved. Of course, the slow cloth factor increases with this method, because the dye has to cure, covered with more plastic, for about 24 hours before being rinsed out.
After rinsing and drying and pulling up the resist threads, I then put the second scarf in a plastic tub and squirted a half liter of very concentrated Dharma Jet Black dye solution all over it. I covered it up with a towel, and let it sit for another 24 hours, turning occasionally. Were it not for the fact that I broke one of the resist threads when tying them, which resulted in a black stripe in the mid portion of the scarf, I would say that this is the best woven shibori scarf yet.
This darker scarf has a richer, more dramatic look.
More shibori to come!