Saturday, August 25, 2007

Shibori Scarf

In the truest definition, Shibori is a Japanese word that refers to methods of folding and manipulating fabric for dyeing and creating texture. The cloth can be stitched, tied, twisted, bound, folded, clamped and otherwise shaped before dyeing, creating a wealth of texture and color. Each method of binding the cloth before dyeing produces a very different result. What we know as 'tie-dye' comes from this artistic discipline. But the root of the word Shibori actually comes from the verb that refers to the method of binding the cloth, rather than the final result.

Lately the term has been used more and more for a new technique that adds dimension to knitted and fulled (felted) fabrics. From the most simple Shibori techniques to the most elaborate, it is a fascinating way to take your knitting to the next level, adding texture and movement to the finished piece.

I've been playing with Shibori felting lately, and on Saturday, September 22nd I'm offering a class at Kiwi in a simple Shibori scarf to let you dive in and get your feet wet. So far I have had great response to the class, and with the sample scarf now in the shop, it invites a LOT of comment - everyone wants to pet it and feel the puffs. One of my favorite students walked in for Knit Dr. yesterday morning, spotted the scarf, and literally started screaming with happiness! I just love that woman! And before she left the shop she had signed up for the class and bought her yarn.

Students in the Shibori class will knit up their scarves before the class, and then during class time we will play with various techniques for binding the fabric and adding texture to it, before they take their scarves home with them to felt. If you are interested in learning this new technique and getting some hands-on instruction, be sure to sign up as soon as possible, and get your homework pattern from the shop so that you can get your scarf knitted and ready for the class day. As of yesterday morning there were only 3 spots left in the class. So hurry to sign up, we are going to have a lot of fun turning something like this into the scarf you see above.

In addition to your pre-knitted scarf, you will want to bring a variety of objects to the class with you, including but not limited to wooden beads of various sizes, binder clips, cotton kitchen twine and a big needle, plastic kitchen wrap, and any variety of small shapes that catch your eye. I find that pointy things such as almonds tend to push themselves out of the fabric during the felting process, so make sure that your objects are smooth and light in weight so that they don't put too much stress on the fabric. You will also need a large quantity of tiny rubber bands, and these can usually be found where hair supplies or dental supplies are sold. You will need more objects and rubber bands than you think, so don't skimp.

Come join the class and let's play!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How delightful! Is this pattern for sale? I absolutely love what you have done with knitting on the diagnol. The colourway is spectacular! Being on the East Coast it would be difficult at best to attend your class in person but perhaps we can communicate by e-mail! Good luck with your class.
A Kntting Nurse