Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Shibori, or as Some Call it Tie Dye

When I was in college it took a class in Shibori, or Japanese tie dye. It literally means pleated and bound. With the current emphasis on denim it's really popular right now in the indigo color so I decided to try it myself again. I went to the internet to get more information (my college memory was a little hazy). One of my favorite blogs, Honestly WTF had a post and how to here. They are a little more in depth on the pleating technique, although it isn't all that hard. They did go to the trouble of getting special dye,but since I'm a little more of an immediate gratification kind of girl I just went with plain old buy-it-at-the- grocery-store Rit. I bought two colors, denim and black. My daughter wanted to use the black first, more on that later.
Since this was basically a first try experiment I used an old white sheet for the fabric. This did two things.One, it had been washed over and over and was very soft and two it had no residues or coatings left on it. I cut it into manageable pieces, small enough to get a good dye but large enough to make small bags or other small projects with.

I chose some 6 by 6"tiles, 2 by 2" tiles and a wooden tart maker as my objects to use for dye resistance. I followed the Honestly WTF instructions on pleating, I folded the fabrics accordion style a little wider than my tiles and then accordion style again, ending up with a square a little larger than the tiles. I have a great stash of old lace, so I decided to try dying some of it too and that is what I used to bind the larger tile. The smaller one I just used twine. The tart maker I pleated the fabric long ways only and then wound it around the dowel part. I bound it with twine too. There is no rhyme or reason to how I bound them.
Here comes the tricky part. I used the cold bath "sink" method as described on the bottle. I tried it with the black dye and soaked the fabric according to the instructions using the required amount of dye and water and salt. It turned out less than spectacular. The color was muddy and had little definition. So I tried again with the blue. This time I strayed from the bottle directions. I used a large metal pot with non-stick coating (would hate for my nice enamel coated cookware to be blue) on my stove top, I doubled the amount of dye used and lessened the water, still using the salt. I simmered it for 45 minutes before I took it off the burner, rinsed and washed it. I think the results were pretty great. On the larger piece you can even see the striations made by the back of the tile. The piece I wound on the tart maker was my least favorite, but still nice. The lace took the dye in different ways since it was a combination of different fibers, nylon, polyester and cotton. I think I will try some t-shirts too but for now I have some really nice shibori pieces for a new project I'm doing next week!

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