Saturday, January 27, 2007

Easy Ikat Becomes Turned Weft Ikat

Ikat is an ancient technique in which the yarn is tie-dyed before it is woven. Most ikat is painstakingly planned out ahead of time. I call my ikat "Easy Ikat" because I have eliminated the pre-planning step completely. The long name for my process is "Spontaneous Designing on the Warping Board With Space-Dyed Yarn" and works equally well with commercial space-dyed yarn as with ikat dyed yarn. For years I claimed the true secret of Easy Ikat was to get someone else to dye the yarn for you. I started playing around ikat in 1975, and it wasn't until 2000 that I started to do a little dyeing myself. Now I say the secret of Easy Ikat is to get someone to dye the yarn WITH you.

This is a detail of my first bamboo ikat weaving 2005. Bamboo yarn takes the dye really well. I will go into ikat in greater debth in later posts.

Here is a detail of a group of silk scarves done back in the late 80's. Michelle Wipplinger dyed everything except the black and white scarf. Cheryl Kolander dyed the black and white. I was strongly committed to not dyeing back then, and I didn't dye yarn with the best dyers I could find:)

The last 3 posts give you an overview of the basic techniques I use, but they are not the only ones. I am anxious to take you into my studio to show you what is currently on the loom. I will go into greater detail as I go along and will also touch on the other techniques and variations that appeal to me.

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