Last week, I had the opportunity to take a class from Dianne Totten in woven shibori…what a treat. At the right is just one of Dianne’s many class samples and the clothing made from these woven fabrics can only be described as eye candy! Her trunk show included a number of wonderful (and prize winning) jackets and vests including her “Night at the Opera” jacket published in the September/October 2011 copy of Handwoven Magazine. To be able to see how these garments were woven and constructed was inspirational to say the least.
I chose a class project involving weft rather than warp shibori…as did all the other attendees as it turned out.
I used an eight shaft table loom and warped primarily with rayon fiber in a mixture of 8/2 and boucle. There was also a little 10/2 cotton and 14/2 fiber of indeterminate origins as well as polyester sewing thread in a 40 weight…a real mixed bag from my stash.
Off loom sample with pull threads visible
I was able to weave four separate samples during the two day class period. My main thrust was comparing the results from the use of different weft materials. I wanted to check texture as well as potential permanency of the resultant fabric.
Initially, I used a a weft of variegated 8/2 tencel in combination with a polyester sewing thread…lovely color combination. The second sample weft was an 8/2 rayon plus poly thread and the third sample weft was a combination of the indeterminate 14/2 fiber and a poly thread. I found that I was happier with the lighter weight 14/2 fiber as a weft…the pattern appeared sharper. So, with the final sample, I combined three and then four poly sewing threads together….that sample is at the left. I washed it several times after steaming it and it has maintained it’s sharp pleat.
This final sample was woven with a single weft of size 16 polyester thread and no ancillary fiber. The resulting pleats are very sharp and remain so after washing fabric. The shrinkage is between 15 and 20%.
If you zoom in on the picture below, you will be able to see the pattern formed by the woven pull threads.
I pulled the pattern threads and placed the fabric in the steamer. The vegetable steamer would be too small for a larger piece of fabric, but it worked very well for this project. After the piece is allowed to dry, the pull threads are removed to reveal the final fabric.
I’m fairly confident that I can create more weft shibori successfully…warp, perhaps not so much! I did learn a number of valuable lessons. The woven pattern is not terribly obvious with my class project…no really distinct diamonds (though the pleats were wonderful). I believe that the warp was a little heavy for best results…and a smooth warp rather than the boucle might have been a better choice. The stripes in the warp are a bit of a distraction…the pattern shows up in varying degrees depending on the color and texture of the warp. And, most important, I will never put sewing thread in the warp again…especially combined with other fiber…what a nightmare to keep separately warped, sleyed and tangle free!
This was a wonderful class experience and Dianne has a wealth of knowledge to share. Without exception, the students all asked when she intends producing a book! I would recommend Dianne to any Guild seeking an exciting seminar and/or workshop…and, will take another class given the opportunity since we all grow with each experience!