Saturday, September 29, 2007

The What and Why of Turned Weft Ikat

Combining commercial space-dyed yarn with my ikat dyed yarn.

Every time someone asks me why I don't just wind warps and ikat dye them instead of ikat dyeing lots of skeins and winding the warp after the yarn is dyed, I have to stop and ask myself the same question. Why don't I?

I found when I tried winding the warp first and planning my design in great detail, I had a hard time achieving the results I imagined. It was hard and frustrating. Although my method is not particularly fast (It takes me about 20 minutes to wind an inch of warp), it seems so easy and so full of surprises. It's as if the threads themselves have created the patterns for me. When I am weaving an ikat piece, it's like watching a beautiful painting happen before my eyes.

I have hundreds of balls of natural dyed ikat silk I've collected and been using since the 70's. They were dyed by many different dyers over the years. I can still add them to a warp, use them for embellishment, or use them in my wrapped wall pieces. They are like tubes of paint that never dry out.

I enjoy the spontaneity of designing a warp directly on the warping board. When I design in this manner, all "figuring out" thinking happens before I warp the loom. Dressing the loom and weaving the piece become more of a relaxing meditative process.

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