Questions from a reader

26 November 2007

I recieved these questions in an email.  A better way to ask a question is to post them as a comment.  But here are the questions and my answers:

My 1st question regards the type string vs. the type fabric to use on the poles. Do you have a favorite string you use consistently with many fabrics with good results? (good resist?). Or do you have different strings for different fabric types? I tried the arashi before (a few years back) with good results so I was expecting the same (good results) when I dyed fabrics last week (first time in four years) but was met with exceptionally poor results (no or very faint resist marks) on a couple of the fabrics. My main dissappointment was a piece of silk organza that I spent a LOT of time pleating up before I wrapped it. I was expecting it (the organza) to be tougher to resist (than the heavier silks), but I at least thought I would see lines….  I guess this question would extend itself to the stitched-resist techniques too?  Do you have a favorite thread you use on many different fabrics? Or do you use different stitching treads for different fabrics? (my other problem was my lack of notes on the thread types I used. I know to and took good notes for the dye, time, techniques, etc. but forgot to write down what type of thread I used on each pole!).




I use different strings for doing arashi because they give different effects, but all of them work.  Here are some I have in my studio today that I have used:



The one I used the most is the cotton rug warp, it is cheap and I use it for my production work.  I don’t think that the string that you use has anything thing to do with the sucess of the resists.  The tension does and so does the type of cloth.  Organza is both a porous  and stiff cloth; these can make it hard to resist.  We dampen the organza to soften it before we push.

Stitched resists are very dependent on the fabric; I’ve never seen any effect of the thread.  I do want the thread to be strong and not break when I gather it up tightly.  I also want it to slip though the cloth easily but beeswax, Thread Heaven ot other  thread lubricant are helpful. 

Remember that all resists are created by compressing the cloth.  On the pole the string compresses the cloth against the pole; the tighter the tension as you wrap the more the compression.  It is easy to lose all the tension when you stop wrapping to push, you must keep the tension on the string while you are pushing and as you restart wrapping.  The thicker and spongeier the cloth the easier it is to compress.  Not all fabrics will work with all techniques.  In stitching the cloth presses against itself right around the thread.  A fabric that is dense, such as fuji broadcloth works well.  Alternatively a very long line of stitching compresses the cloth more than a a short line of stitches.


2. My second question has to do with the silicone spray you put on the poles. Is there any other product (other than spray silicone) that you might recommend for me to try that would have less fumes. My husband is extremely sensitive to the fumes (even though we applied it outside and later brought the poles inside to wrap). He thought he was going to have to go to the hospital he had such a bad reaction to the smell. So I tried to do the arashi this time without it (which turned out to be a LOT more difficult and I believe probably attributed to the faint/nonexistant resist lines – because I had to let off on the tension a little bit to be able to "scrunch" up the fabric). Can you think of anything that I could try that wouldn’t affect the fabric/dye and still allow me to get the tension on the string I need without the fumes?


I use a silicone srpay for use with fabrics, no staining.  I spray outdoors, wait a minute wipe it off then bring it inside.  My pole have a nice layer built up and I don’t need to spray everytime. Silicone also comes as a liquid, not in a spray dispenser.

I used to work without it.  The less you wrap the easier it is to push.  So if you normally wrap 6" before pushing, if you only wrap 4" and then push it will be much easier.  If you have issues with the silicone spray you will have to experiment with other lubricants to see what is acceptable to you.


5 Responses to “Questions from a reader”

  1. Debra Says:

    Thanks so much for the answers Karren. They bring up one more question: what size and ply is the rug warp and where do you get it??


  2. Kristin Says:

    Turtle wax for cars works well as a pole lubricant; it goes on as a liquid. Carter Smith divulged this at SDA last June.
    Thanks for the detailed coments on wrapping and stitching.


  3. Karren Says:

    The rug warp I currently have is 8/4 cotton from Edgemont, I like big cones and cheap. It has to be natural because the dye could transfer.
    You might try typeing “rug warp” into Gooogle to see if there is a source closer to you.


  4. Debra Says:

    Wow, thanks Kristin! Why didn’t I think of car wax? It’s tough, water repellant, easy to work with, etc. If I set the poles in the Hawaii sun for a few days before I use them it should be baked on “good” and not transfer to the fabric! Thanks Karren for the warp info, I’ll check them out!


  5. glennis Says:

    I use something called “d-core”. just my personal favorite. blogged here:


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