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Shibori - The beginning of stitching


Shibori flowers
Shibori is an art form that I have been exploring, and as a dye technique it is not as predictable as it could be as a pattern. Shown above is a pattern I made from digitally scanning forms and layering in Photoshop. It still needs work- I think it needs more scale differences to make it really interesting. I also love that shibori and tie dye is still with us as a trend and I think it really works with my wabi sabi attitude and textiles. I am working on my pattern work as a a textile designer, and have a website formsandpatterns.com and Instagram page @formsandpatterns if you are interested in working with me for licensing and custom patterns.
The following is some stitching notes and images for the stitching process. If you want to use stitching in your work, please be aware it is super time consuming. It is much easier to do the fold and bind techniques, which will yield beautiful results, but are inherently easier due to less time it takes to fold up a small piece. I find that the folding for exact lines are more graphic and worth the time. I don't do as much of the flowers as shown above as I like more varying shapes and geometric lines. So the following stitching I took my time pinning, using 2 stitch styles per row. I still let it be freer - I didn't measure, nor did I keep lines super square - so we will see how it turns out. This piece took me about 4 hours or more. I am looking for a gathered stripe look. Will post the final dyed pieces later this week.
Step 1 - the art of the fold. In using the shibori technique, every fold and every manipulated edge will catch ink. The counter to an inked surface is the white or hidden area, which is in each stitched, bound or inner fold which ink can't reach. Within the process of dyeing is soaking before the dipping in indigo to get the ink to seep into the folds, so the more folds, stitches and gathered areas bound with string, rubber bands, clips and wood pieces the more patterning you will get. The trick is the balance of binding / tightness to allow water and ink to do the magic. I plan on dipping many times to achieve the deepest rich blue I can. However, each time you dip you will let more ink seep in and less white of the pattern will be showing. You can see above the pins and pleats where I am doing the bound stitch. Keep your stitches super loose and wide apart so when you pull you can get lots of gathering. Use a super strong upholstery thread and an upholstery needle, so when you pull the thread doesn't break. I also did 2 stitched areas with a break in the center for easier pulling.
Step 2 - the stitching mix. Shown here is every other row I did a different stitch. You will see the gathering is a different shape.
Step 3 - the pulling. Shown here is the final look - it's kind of messy but you get the idea. The threads were finished off with knots so they couldn't pull loose when dying. I plan on massaging the fabric under the ink to get into the nooks and crannies. Not too much, as you don't want lots of oxygen getting into the dye and oxidizing the ink. I hope to have some ink for a couple of days in a bucket as I have lots of items I am preparing to dye. I am also redoing some bound items and I want to do more larger stitched areas.
Ready to dye in the next few days- come back for the reveal!

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