Trouble shooting shibori

13 January 2007

Someone lost all of her resists. By this I mean that she made the resists, dyed the cloth and opened it up and it was all black, no undyed areas. She blamed it on the lightweght silk. Here’s my take:

No, the problem is not the the silk but the technique!
I use the lightest china silk everyday.
Did you soak the silk in water before you dyed it? If not the dry silk will wick the dye under the resists. This is by far the most common step to neglect. Wetting out your goods before dyeing is a standard procedure.
Loose resists also do not work very well. Shibori creates the resists areas by compression; this means that the the resists must be tight enough to compress the cloth. With lightweight or porous silk this can require extra care, especially with stitched resists. For stitched resists in the lightweight or porous fabrics:
-stitch all the lines with a strong double thread
-gather each line
-spray the cloth with water to dampen; the damp cloth will now compress 30-50% more than the dry cloth
-gather as tight as possible and tie-off
-soak in water to wet out throughly
If you want to discharge scarves with resists you must pay attention to all of the above steps. The discharge reagents will penetrate even farther than the dyes do; this means that it is even harder to create resists for discharge than for dye.

I must add that not all techniques will work with all fabrics; this is where sampling comes in. For example short lines (<3") of stitched shibori in silk chiffon have never worked for me. There simply isn't enough cloth to compress itself . But the same design in a silk broadcloth, a much denser cloth, works.


6 Responses to “Trouble shooting shibori”

  1. Mandi Says:

    Thank you for this info! I have had the same problem with my wrapped shibori and never understood why! I have some wet silk here now to practice with. Thanks again!


  2. Eva mcGehee Says:

    Dear Ms. Brito,
    thank you for writing such a wonderful book which inspired me to try shibori. Unfortunately I am not doing well. Starting with simple rings using kamosage knot, the dye is seeping under the treads. I paint on Habotai 10mm with brush using Jacquard liquid silk dyes (green label) wet-on-wet. For treads I tried button-hole, cotton quilting and nylon.


  3. Karren Says:

    I do not know what a kamosage knot is. Do you have picture that you can post to the
    flickr group?
    Shibori is a resist dyeing technique , not a resist painting technique. Good dyeing technique is assumed. When my students in a workshop try to paint on the dye the resists disappear too.
    Follow the steps above making sure that you have good compression , soak the goods for at least 1/2 hour then dye. The resists should hold. Good luck!


  4. Eva McGehee Says:

    Dear Ms. Brito,
    thank you for your reply.
    The Kamosage knot is illustrated on page 57 in the book Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing by Y.I. Wada, M.K. Rice, J. Barton.


  5. Eva McGehee Says:

    Dear Ms. Britto,
    I have read that the optimum pH for Remazols on cotton is 11.5. Could you recommend a pH range these dyes would like when citric acid or acetic acid is used with silk? I would appreciate any suggestions you may have.


  6. Karren Says:

    If I use any fiber reactive dye on silk I do it with soda ash. If I want acid dyes I use proper acid dyes.
    Using fiber reactives dyes as acid dyes is cute but I haven’t ever seen any fastness data on them. Industry does not use fiber reactive dyes under acid conditions and they are who pays for all the test: crocking, light-fastness, washfastness, stability to sweat, saliva etc. I can not sell items dyed with dyes a that have unknown properties.


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