Ikat Tie-on

Remember that ikat warp I dyed? Well here it is in all its glory! ikat-5 ikat-4

I attempted tying this warp to an existing warp already on the loom. I've done this only once before although had a terrible experience with it; I ended up taking off the old warp and just re-sleying my loom with the new warp. Mostly because I am not an great at knot tying. But of course, if at first you don't succeed...




I was pleasantly surprised it worked this time! I had a few knots come undone, but otherwise it went off without a hitch!

Organic sweater?

Let me tell you a little secret: I spend a good chunk of time at the Goodwill in Queens becuase you can buy clothing by the pound. (I heard about it via this post.) Mostly I'm looking for items to make rag rugs out of or perhaps some really awesome puppet material (teal velour jump suit, anyone?). And it's way cheaper than paying for virgin material. The other day, I stumbled upon this awesome sweater:

But what caught my eye, was not the pattern, but the tag:

Anyone else see a conflicting pair of terms? Definitely made me laugh!

Seeing (dye) spots

Several weeks ago I was dyeing a scarf with "navy". Or at least that's what it said on the label. What's important to know in this account is that dyes are either pure or, well, not pure meaning that they are formulated with a combination of pure dyes to get that specific color. That color you think you need, but really you don't. You know the ones - the ones with the fancy names like 'geranium' and 'dark sky' and 'meadow green'. I usually stay away from them since I enjoy mixing colors on the fly, and they teach you in school you're only supposed to need three technically. But when it comes to really dark colors like navy, I don't mess around.
Now this may seem trivial. Pure. Not pure. What are you getting at, Tara? Oh, it matters for one very important reason. If you don't fully dissolve the dye or if for some reason you are super sloppy and a small teensy-weeny grain of that powdered dye gets on your cloth while it sets you will get spots. Spots that won't come out or blend because the cloth is hungry for anything it can possibly soak up. Case in point:
Yes, that is a fuchsia spot in the middle of my navy dye job. You type A's are thinking, "How in the world did that happen?? How is it even possible to not dissolve dye?!" and you type B's are thinking, "Oh, it's just part of the process, dear. It's beautiful. Embrace it."
So I'm going to embrase my type B side for a moment. After this 'tragedy' happened, I thought, "Why not take this mistake and make it a deliberate thing?" Let's try it out, shall we? 

I used a urea and water mixture to keep the cloth wet while the dye set overnight. Urea is a humectant, meaning that it attracts water. Or, put another way, since urea is present on the cloth, water has difficulty evaporating leaving more time for the dye to set. Since black is made up of just about every color, I started there:

Ooooh, pretty. And as I placed salt on top (to help further set, disperse the water, and deepen the color) things started to spread:

Lovely! I suppose we'll see what happens soon? Thank you B's! Until we meet again...

I'm back!

I know. Radio silence. I'm not really sure what happened, to be totally honest. I'm going to blame it on my bobbin winder breaking. But it's back! And now I'm back! I'm able to weave again. So get ready for it. Whatever "it" is....

Woven Shibori: Off Loom

Well, I can't lie. This is one of the more time consuming weavings I've done. It's also the first time I'm really excited to get this done and over with because I want to see what happens after I dye it. I'm like a little kid that can't sit still. Even though it's been a bit tedious, the actual gathering and bunching part of the process is definitely my favorite. It's a good way to get out one's frustrations. 
Let me step you through the oh-so-not-difficult process of bunching:

The trick is to pull from one side to the half way point then knot that side:

Then pull from the other side taking care not to break the thread. Then knot those together as tightly as possible:

Keep going until you have a nicely knotted heap of thread:

All ready to dye!