Saturday, January 21, 2012

Shibori cotton

 I have a problem in that I can't for the life of me dye cotton with Procion dye.  I almost get hysterical at the prospect and when I try the dye doesn't take.  Acid dye on protein fibre, no problem but cotton, hopeless.  I have several big bags of cotton that I've acquired over the years thinking I would overdye to more desirable hues but .. see above!

This rust cone I have given away twice and it comes back unused so its time came to try an experiment with watered down bleach.
The fabric was about 20" (51cm) wide before pulling the resist threads.
 The first pic was taken as the soaked sample went into the solution so it is darker than in reality.  (A light bulb just went off here.)  The second pic is after four hours of soaking and I just realised that that is also darker than it would be when dry.  You can see the edges have really bleached out to a dirty white.
This is the first glimpse as the resist threads are released.
This is the above stripe sample washed and pressed showing that even deliberate stripes come out very organic.  The bleach solution was painted on one side of the sample only.

The next sample was covered in the bleach solution and left soaking for two hours.  It has 6 rows of tabby between resist threads which I like better than the samples I did with 4 which is a bonus timewise.

I think this last is my favourite but the one above does look a bit reptilian.  I used a weaker solution of bleach for this and I'm liking the three degrees of colour, the original rust, an orange and its tint.

So now I think I'll tie on a couple of metres of navy blue cotton which I know bleaches out to purple and see what I get before putting on a long warp.  This is all unmercerised cotton.

Click on all pics to bigify.


  1. Shibori is most definitely what I want to do soon, but not stitching, the way you do it. I can't wait, though it'll probably be in the fall...

  2. It is so much fun but be prepared for surprises!