Category Archives: Ikat

Is it already Wednesday?

waste basket of untied ikat tape

 

Tied/Untied

Is it Wednesday already?

Seems I can no longer keep up with what day it is in the week. Yes, it’s Wednesday. Yes, my blog post should be ready. No, it is not ready. What’s going on here?

Ikat untying

Just in case you were wondering,untying ikat tape from the yarn takes almost as much time as untying it. And then there’s the winding onto shuttles. Over the years I have learned that I prefer certain shuttles for this, one called a poke shuttle. I always overfill them because there does not seem to be a good place to cut the continuous weft. 

Filled shuttles with section one

Labeling

Someone asked me about keeping up with which shuttle is which. It just requires labels, many labels. When I’m measuring the yarn for ikat, I label where I start with “bottom left.” When I end the section, I label it “top right.” When I wind onto the shuttles, I start with the top right end, so that I can begin weaving with the bottom left. You have to weave in the direction you measured the yarn, or the pattern will not match up.

You can see in the image below that I am using a ski shuttle. I really don’t like it very well for this, but my other shuttles were full, and there was still a bit of this section of weft left to wind.

Ikat in progress

Weaving ikat

The actual weaving part of ikat goes fast, plus it keeps my interest because it requires attention to matching the pattern and the selvedges. This means that quite a bit of the piece is already woven.

This is such a close-up that you can see how the edges of the color don’t seem even near the right spot, but when it is seen without enlargement, the edges look fuzzy, but not so extreme as this detail.

Detail

Maybe I’ll be finished by the next time Wednesday rolls around.

A continuation

New-to-me ikat book

New-to-me ikat book

A continuation of the previous week around here–doing a lot of reading, thinking, and not much else. However, I did get a new ikat book, which I like very much, so far. There are a lot of Japanese words, only a few of which I have ever heard of before, but the instructions are very clear.

Ikat knot diagram

Ikat knot diagram

There are many diagrams, including how-to and traditional designs. They show clear steps and are easily understood. One thing in particular I could have used before: the one below is a diagram about enlarging a circle for ikat.

Enlarging circle diagram

Enlarging circle diagram

One thing I have noticed with all ikat books, when talking about weft ikat, they match up the pattern by letting any excess of weft hang off the selvage. Of course, that will not work for weft-faced tapestries. Those selvages have to be near perfect, the warp must be adjusted before weaving. Another method included in this book is to tie a section, but to to adjust the weft so that the section becomes a diamond or some other shape. That means that there are huge amounts of weft hanging off the right and left sides of the selvages. That’s just not going to work for weft-faced work. If you were going to sew the fabric, say a light weight cotton, would you want those weft sections hanging off the sides? Maybe I just don’t understand yet and need to read some more. Always possible.

There is also dyeing information, which I don’t think I need, but maybe at some point I’ll want to read about traditional and synthetic indigo dyeing.

I do like this book, though, better than others that I have. Definitely worth a thorough read.

It’s all about the tape

Rolls of ikat tape

Rolls of ikat tape

I wish I could describe what ikat tape is…Maiwa says it’s poly, but I’m not clear on what that is. All I know is that I can only find one source for it, it’s expensive, and because that source is Canadian, there are other expenses added to the cost. That’s a lesson I learned the hard way. I ordered one roll, but by the time all the other stuff was added to it, that roll was damned expensive. And by the way, the postman knocked on my door to have me sign papers, since the package “came for across the sea.” Now, if I order, I order multiple rolls, as many as the current budget will allow. I’m lucky that a friend gifted me with some tape she was no longer going to use. Thank you, Wendy.

Because the tape is thin, it really does go a long way. You can also easily split the tape for smaller sections. Since a local weaver is doing a first ikat project, I decided to look into buying tape again. Still the same ol’ source and no other that I could find.

This also made me drag out my ikat books, or at least try to find them–still missing one. In the books, they show that you can use different materials for tying, including kitchen plastic wrap for long sections. I think trying those other materials will involve a lot more practice for me, although in thinking about it, maybe that doesn’t need to be so tight because you wrap string around the whole section, making really tight ties at the beginning and end of the section. What do you think? would too much dye seep in? In the picture below, I tied an itty bitty piece of a section and decided it faster for the moment to continue in my usual way. You can see it third from the bottom, right side towards the center.

Ikat section 1 do-over

Ikat section 1 do-over

Years ago, I posted a video from You Tube showing a woman tying ikat. The video is silent except for the sound of the squeaking ties. I found it fascinating, but I still wonder what kind of material she’s using.

And speaking of alternative materials, I received a Uline catalog (do they ever stop sending those things?) with some possible wrapping materials. Will have to think about that.

In my search I did find some interesting sites to explore:

Strands of Silk you can see sections tied with string and other with just tape. Also a cartoon to guide with the design.

Andrea Schewe’s worktable blog Southeast Asia pictures and description of ikat tying and weavings

Backstrap Weaving Many interesting pictures of designs tied and untied, finished weavings, and an experiment by the author. I really liked the pictures here. There’s also a video.

And then there’s the exchange rate for Canadian/United States dollars

Canadian/United States exchange rate 6/28/2016

Canadian/United States exchange rate 6/28/2016

Two weeks in June

Going to the movies

Going to the movies

I always seem to be behind when we go to the movies, that is, until we get to the box office. ;)) On our way to see X Men. I actually enjoyed it, but then there was Captain America. The younger of the two had not seen it, so we went. Waaay too long and really not good. The older one disagrees with me there. These are the kinds of things I’ll be doing until after the 20th. Today is a tie dye day, something I’ve never done totally by myself. We’re even doing socks!

I made sure that all the ikat sections were labeled appropriately and laid them out in order. The one at the bottom is the first section. Somehow it got really tangled up and I can no longer get its parts in order, so I’m doing that section over again.

Ikat-finished

Dyeing next

Ikat cartoon

Ikat cartoon

This is the very last section of the cartoon for the current ikat piece. Yes, I cut the cartoon into pieces, probably a sacrilege, but it makes it easier for me to handle. You can barely see where I label the section in the bottom right. This happens to say #5 bottom right. Each section is numbered and labeled in this way. A lesson learned the hard way, as all good lessons are. When I taped this section down, I discovered a mistake. Can you see it?* So I untaped it, fixed the mistake, realizing at the same time that section #4 has the same mistake. I measured and wrapped this section, then put #4 back on the board and fixed it. Now I get to do the dyeing. I think I will do that tomorrow. And I really should clean/organize the studio. I always leave a mess of cut off bits of ikat tape during this process. Those bits stick to my bare feet and get tracked all over the house. I still haven’t done the finish work on the pieces pictured last week, and I’m about to run out of time. I will have two house guests for ten days, so my time will be limited. Not sure how much blogging will get done during that time.

Cartoon mistakes

Cartoon mistakes

*Notice the right and left angles and the space between the angled line and the sides. There’s more space on the right than on the left. This won’t be able to be fixed after the dyeing is done. The design is set with ikat.

 

Rainy days

Azul y verde

Azul y verde

Other than the rain, there’s not much news around here. As I’ve said before, living in Texas, I hate to complain about rain. It hasn’t been that long ago that we were suffering a drought, but currently, we’re getting about an inch of rain–per day! And I’m one of the lucky ones. Other sections of Texas are flooding and people are dying. I can only imagine what they’re going through.

The pieces above were cut off, strictly experimental with color. The bottom one has warp showing. I wanted to see how the color would shift with the white warp showing. Actually, the colors are pretty striking in person. I’ve decided that I like it enough to actually finish it, but therein likes the current problem. Since it’s not woven thickly like a tapestry or rug, I don’t know yet how it will look with a hem. Nothing to do but just try it. So, it’s steam-and-hem day, perfect for another rainy day.

And below is what I’m working on with the ikat. See the design yet? After this piece, I think I’m going to do some of what I call freestyle ikat.

New project

New project, part of prairie series. What’s it going to be?

Dithering-what’s next?

current weaving

current weaving

This is what I’m doing in my dithering stage. Using up some of the many greens that I now have. The current weaving is simply throwing a shuttle, using greens in a kind-of-pseudo gradations piece. I have also pulled out many greens that I don’t like to overdye. I think some of them will be dyed by dipping one end of the skein in the dye, seeing what turns out and then dipping the other end to coordinate with it. Others may end up with a loose ikat-tied dyeing. I had an epiphany of sorts about doing some ikat pieces in a very simple way, just to be doing some weaving until the big inspiration sets in.

Below is the ikat board set up and ready to go. You can see the cartoon drawn on vellum, rough though it is. I was too lazy to really color in all those sections, but some squiggles will remind me of the way. This is only one section of many of this piece.

new cartoon, ikat board

new cartoon, ikat board

By the way, if you’re interested in color, you may be interested in this website and a new color wheel. Have you ever pulled out a color wheel, but not been really satisfied with the options? I have done that, but ended up sticking with my gut many times. So check it out and tell me what you think.

Whatever

Smoke

Smoke in situ. Weft ikat, 60 x 28 inches

I keep hoping I will have something to say and then could write. This is what happens when you don’t do anything, go anywhere, live life on the edge. I really can’t put my finger on what I’ve been doing, but it feels busy. I have a bit of warp left on the Cranbrook, so I’m weaving some small pieces. Trying (again) to weave wedge weave on one of them. Not very successfully yet, but I’m persevering. The problem is that there are so many ideas floating around in my head, I don’t know where to start. And the house/outside tasks have gotten out of hand. Then there’s the mammogram, flu shot, etc. It was nice to go to the guild meeting and see people, something I need to do more. Working on it, Boss.

Ikat experiments and more

Grocery shopping

Grocery shopping

No, this picture has nothing to do with ikat, I just like it. This is the painting on the refrigerated box for a drink that I don’t remember the name of. Judging from the picture, it must’ve been a fruit drink, right?

Left: cartoon, Right: weaving

Left: cartoon, Right: weaving

So, ikat experiments–You can see it all in the above picture. I’ve recorded the info on the  cartoon; the cartoon is 6 inches, the woven is 2.5 inches. The yarn was measured in 1/4 inch increments for this experiment, so it makes since that this ratio is more than double the ratio for 1/2 inch measuring. The other cartoon with all its angles is not turning out very well. Maybe those need to be measured in 1/8 inch increments, something that I will have to think long and hard about.

spinning and roving

spinning and roving

…and then there’s the spinning. About a pound of Romney roving rests on the floor beside the spinning wheel.

Circular-warped Mirrix

Circular-warped Mirrix

… and the newly warped Mirrix, warped in a circular way without the use of the warp bars. Another experiment.

small pieces

small pieces

… and the small pieces I wove, oh, maybe a year ago. I trimmed them and dumped them in water. Next I’ll hem and stitch them to a canvas. Another experiment….

 

 

 

The weekend and less

Yarn

Yarn wall

Gosh, I really wish there was something exciting to relate! Alas, there is not. The weekend was full of driving. There was a family event way up in the northern reaches of Texas, 30 miles from Durant, OK. Toll roads all the way–a love/hate relationship there. After our guild meeting, I hit the road, following wherever the GPS took me. Since owners of Fiber Artz are retiring, they were selling out everything. Naturally, since I would be in Bells, Texas at Willowood Ranch, I decided to drive the 30 miles farther north to see the sale stuff. And buy. And buy I did. After all, 1/2 price. Someday I will have to start spinning again because I bought roving.

Drawing

Drawing for experimenting

Ikat-tree

Drawing for experimenting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding my way to Willowood Ranch via narrow tree covered country roads was a nice drive. The ranch is wonderful, quiet, peaceful, and beautiful. Quiet except for the auto racing that began at dusk. It was relaxing to visit with family around a table with plates of barbecue. It is Texas, after all. Plus, I am hopeful that my brothers-in-law have helped me solve my ikat ratio problem. After I dye and weave the above experiments (yes, I know, they are not very attractive), we’ll see if the ratio holds true. And what’s a Texas ranch without a cow over the fireplace?

Cow

Fireplace