I have been working on stitching these running lines for the past three winters – not all the time of course, but picking it up on long winter evenings and putting in a few rows at a time. Shibori is a Japanese technique of manipulating fabric by stitching, tying, clamping or folding to create a resist to the dye. When the bindings are released the pattern emerges. This particular pattern is called Mokume, meaning wood-grain because it resembles the organic linear patterns of wood grain.
I have now completed stitching lines about 1/2″ apart on this 80″ by 54″ length of hand dyed purple cotton sateen cloth. I have begun to pull up the upholstery thread and gather them tightly with knots at each end. This stage in itself is beautiful. After being in the dye bath, the threads have to be released and I always feel a little sadness at cutting them and losing the amazing sculptured cloth that has been created by stitching and gathering.
This fabric will go into a vat dye bath, most likely gold or light rust brown, where I will replace the purple visible on the outside with the new colour and when the pattern is revealed the purple hidden inside will form a beautiful and interesting contrast of colours in a wood grain pattern.
I am planning a collection of skirts for this summer and will be using this new cloth in some of them. The skirt in the image below is one I did a few years using the Mokume shibori technique as well as a shibori technique called Itajime to create the bright orange patterns on the yoke. Itajime uses clamped blocks to resist the dye and leaves behind a motif.