A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Failure 101

My resource for the technique I kinda tried is the book, Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing.  It is 303 pages of instruction and pictures for all kinds of Shibori.  If you are serious about the technique, this is the book to buy.  Pole-Wrapping,r Arashi meaning storm, begins on page 123.

So, I used a fat 1/2 yard to wrap diagonally on a 4 " PVC pipe.  I got the PVC pipe already cut at Home Depot and it is about 2 ft long.  The pictures of poles in the book are closer to 4 ft.  I wish I had gotten a longer piece since I had to wrap and scrunch in sections to get the entire length of fabric on the pole without folding it.  Mistake 1.

The thread recommended in the book is 20/4 cotton.  Didn't have any just laying around the house so I looked around for substitutes.  I know I have just plain old thread but couldn't find it.  I wanted to use my #10 crochet thread but couldn't find it.  I considered my upholstery thread but ...couldn't find it.  I was afraid regular thread would be too thin.  I also considered some fishing line I have but you know how hard it is to get a secure knot in it.  Rather than delay the experiment, I used some yarn.  I had misgivings. I was concerned that the yarn would have too much give and once wet would not be as tight as I wanted it to be.  Should have  listened to that little voice inside my head. The brown in the picture is the yarn.  Mistake 2.

I wrapped the material and the thread clockwise.  I left approximately 1 inch between the rounds of thread--different widths between the binding will give different looks.  When I scrunched, I scrunched it counter clockwise which is supposed to give a really cool type of fold.  Boy is that hard to do!  Really, really hard to do.  Really, really, really hard to do.  I have my husband help to hold the pole while I twisted and scrunched.  I think I quit scrunching way too soon.  Mistake 3.

I stood the pole on end inside a trash bag inside a bowl and painted the activated dye onto the dry fabric.  I painted till the material stopped absorbing the dye and started dripping. Then I wrapped the trash bag around the pole and let it sit for 1 1/2 hours.  I used a very concentrated dye because I wanted a dark color.  One and 1/2 hours later I unwrapped thread, unwrapped fabric, rinsed out dye (forgot my gloves so my hands are blue), washed, dried, then ironed.

Too much work for too little effect.  If you look close enough, you can see variations.  Maybe I should follow the rules better.


  1. This is a great try though! Will you try this again?
    I just wish there was a way without using a pole. They are so cumbersome to use unless you are a plumber :0)

  2. You could take this piece of fabric and "re-shibori" it to get the effect you want. There are really no mistakes in dyeing!

  3. Judith, what color did you use to dye this? If you re-do this, or do another piece, try putting less dye on it, don't saturate it, and it will look totally different.

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  5. I like it. Too much white is not my cup of tea. For a stronger contrast, pre-soak cloth in soda soak. then apply dye (I heard this). I also couldn't find my sting so I used acrylic yarn. Mine worked fine so I suspect it was the dry cloth. All that said, I like yours better than mine because of the all over color but with figuring!!!

  6. I've read on a few shibori-related blogs that "wet equals white", that is, if you start with wet fabric, the dye travels faster and there's a tendency to have more white remain.

  7. I sympathize with your pole efforts! I spent lots of time in '09 with pvc... even 4 foot lengths were awkward and really hard to get the fabric scrunched & tied. Finally went to using a length of nylon rope from Home Depot, and got much better results! You can see a demo of the technique at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9J8Eyc1Ozo. Lots easier to use!

  8. I could re-shibori it and considered it but it reads as a solid and I like the color so I will pack it away as one of my 30+ yards of solids for my class with Nancy Crow.


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