Entwinements Star Scarf

10 March 2007


This Star Scarf comes in a full range of
colors. It is made from a large piece of silk so that pleated it still looks scarf size. It is a nice size to wear around your neck. It is easy to wear; you simply put it around your neck and then fling one side back. Each one costs $130.
The hottest color at this moment is RED POP. (Red pop is drunk by some here in the Midwest — sorry, I guess it is not a play on words if you have to exlpain it.) I have the star scarf in maybe 25 colorways altogether.
The easiest way to buy a scarf is to come to a show and see, touch and try-on. Nothing can substitute for a try-on. To know when I’m doing a show in your area use the button to the right to get notification. I try to come to a market once each year ( jurys have a different adgenda) so if you sign up for just one market you will only get notification of only one show. NO SPAM, and you can opt out at any moment.
We do sell direct but we need to have a telephone conversation first, mostly about color. The internet is not a reliable way to transmit visual color information. If shows don’t work for you, you may call 937.767.8961, 9-5 East Coast Time. We’ll do our best to get you a scarf that you like.

This is the final entry on how I make ENTWINEMENTS scarves. The previous steps 1, 2, 3 , 4 and 5 have been published here in the blog and are discussed at greater length in my book, SHIBORI: creating color and texture on silk.

All the poles were dry when I checked them this morning. Sometimes in high humidity they don’t dry overnight, but that is the exception.
dry poles.jpg
Also they look good; the colors in the over-dyes are smooth and bright. Purple Passion is one of our bright, Caribbean colors. Should have named it Purple Polka in keeping with our dance theme, too late now. The purple itself is bright, and now the over- dyes seem bright too. Open we will see some of the discharge color, which is never bright, but hopefully the proportion of the dull discharge color is right so that the whole piece retains its brightness.
I have built a little stand to unwind the poles with a ball winder to collect the string as it comes off.
If you go fast enough with the crank, the string balloons out from the silk ( sorry, we all have our 10-yr. old moments). Anyhow it only takes a moment to unwrap the poles. When the silk comes off the pole side should still be all purple and the up side the colors of the over-dyes.
off pole.jpg
The pole side is to the left and the over-dye side to the right. Now the next question is did I get it discharged right; too much and you loose the purple (this did not happen because the back side is still all purple) and too little discharge and all the over dye colors have purple in them. As one opens the pleats you can see the original purple deep in the valleys of the pleats.
over-dyed side.jpg
The bright yellows mean that I was not over-dyeing purple, that would give a very muddy color.

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Today I will do three different processes to these poles to create the pleated scarves: discharge, over-dye and set the pleats. The previous steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 have been published here in the blog and are discussed at greater length in my book, SHIBORI: creating color and texture on silk.

We start today with 10 poles wrapped, all in Purple Passion. The first the poles are wet.
And the area around the burner is set up for discharge.
discharge set up.jpg
I have a 15L SS pot that I use and heat on the high btu burner. I have a yellow bucket with cold water to quench the discharge and one with a black top/seat to sit on. After the water comes to a boil, I add my discharge chemicals .
Then I place a pole on top of the pot and scoop out a cupful and pour it over the pole. I repeat until I get the discharge that I want. The discharge color here is yellow, and I want all of the visible silk to have some yellow. If I can’t get the color I want I may need to add more chemicals. When I get the discharge color I want (and what I want has been determined in the design phase) I plunge the pole into the cold water to stop the discharging. With one pot of discharge solution, I can discharge all 10 poles. I do need to occasionally add more chemicals and of course it must be kept hot.
Then I wash them with Synthrapol to remove residue of discharge chemicals and smell. It would complicate my life to add dye if there are still chemicals in the silk that destroy the dyes. Easily solved with a good wash.
As always when you use Synthrapol, you must rinse, rinse, rinse until it no longer foams. Then all the discharged poles are ready for over-dyeing.
discharged poles.jpg

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So far we have made the scarves, dyed them purple, and washed and ironed them in preparation for pole wrapping . Today we will pole wrap , in a process called arashi shibori. I hope you like purple today, you will see a lot.
We have many poles of various sizes, we have 10 like this :
This is polypropylene (PP) not polyvinyl chloride (PVC) because we steam the poles and after several steaming the PVC poles change shape. These have been steamed thousands of times. The poles are 30″ tall and ID of 6″.
Now I was taught and wrapped my first few poles in this upright position. But since I do so much of it I built a box, with nice ball bearings, to make it easier for me to wrap. Here is the pole on the roller box
The process is to wrap string tightly over the silk and then push it to one end. The pushing is the hardest step. It can be made easier with a slippery coating on the pole. Here I am spraying it with silicone.
Now the carefully ironed silk, this one is a giant star, is arranged on the pole.
silk on pole.jpg
The silk fits at an angle until it touches itself, it ends up looking like the paper cores for toilet paper or paper towels with a spiral butted joint. This gives some flexibility in the size of the silk that can be wrapped, but it still works best with a narrow rectangle, it can be very long. I use masking tape to secure the silk, silk stuck to silk, not to the pole.
I use 8/4 rug warp to wrap, it is strong, cheap and undyed. I also need to protect my hand from rope cuts when I hold and tension it. I use a bundlers glove–I think they are made for people who prepare things for shipping with strapping.
Anyhow you can see the need for protection is not theoretical. Any one need pristine bundlers gloves for the left hand?
I tie the string to the pole and wrap it around my hand and begin to wrap.
The right hand tensions and spaces the string the left hand turns the pole. The left hand also pats the silk a lot to smooth it out. I wrap very tightly. After all it is the compression of the silk between the string and the pole that creates the resists. If the wrapping is too loose there won’t be any resisting. I wrap for about a hand span, then stop. To keep the tension on the string I tape it down to the silk.

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This is part 3, part 1 and 2 were earlier this week. Today the work is unglamorous and time comsuming– to prepare the silk for pole wrapping it must be washed and ironed. No one ever asks how long did it take you to iron this scarf… they ask how long did it take you to pleat this scarf. The real answer is that it depends on how well ironed it was.
We left the dyed silk hanging on the clothes line. To hang it up we sorted it by style . Now it is easy to take down and store in totes until we need it. We obviously dyed more than enough for one set of poles.
scarves tote.jpg
When it has been decided what we need in one color it is picked from the storage totes and put into the washing machine. We wash with hot water, delicate cyle and use a bit of Orvus paste. Remember the silk went from the dye machine to be dried– there was no washing. This is the only washing before pleating.
washing .jpg
The hot water is to remove any excees dye ( there isn’t very much). We use Orvus paste because it is cheap and leaves no residue that can interfer with subsequent dyeing. The washing machine was the first of the new generation; front loaders, water efficient ( max. water fill 6 gal. instead of 18 gal. for a top loader). Using the machine to wash the silk seems like it would be time efficient but when you have to deal with the tangled mass of silk you wonder.
wet silk.jpg
You can see a mix of purple and black scarves just out of the washing machine. They have been through a fast spin cycle because we iron the silk wet, and this gives us the right moisture content.

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Yesterday the scarves were made, today they will be dyed a base color. They will be dyed with Lanaset dyes, a deep rich purple–purple passion. Here is our formula and records for that color:
color records.jpg
You can see our color swatch, 4 layers of china silk, right under the formula in the sheet protector on the left. There is also a jacquard hanky and a continuity sheet with a small swatch from every dye lot of this color. I’m a strong believer in keeping records, it is the only way I get smarter with time.
Next all 50 scarves we are going to dye have been gather together in this box. We need to weigh them to determine their mass and then calculate the amount of dye we will use. We need the dry weight to be meaningful. The box is placed on the digital balance and it is tared (that means it reads zero even though there is something on it) and then the silk is added to the box and the weight of the silk, 1462g, appears on the screen.
weigh silk.jpg
This is referred to as the weigh of fiber, WOF, or the weight of goods, WOG. This number is then used to calculate the correct amount of dye to get the same color.
PURPLE PASSION_dye calculator.cwk (SS).jpg
Here you can see that the total amount of dye is 65.79g,and that it is divided up among 3 manufactured dye colors, Polar Red ( not a Lanaset dye, but compatible and adds a bright red component), violet and black. The Lanaset violet is quite bright and with the Polar Red, also bright , it is a dark and bright red purple.

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This is the first entry in this week’s series of how an ENTWINEMENTS scarf is made. This is an artisan process, it is done in my studio. It does NOT include the designing, color nor style. Designing is a time consuming step that has already been completed when this production process begins. I will illustrate with the production of Giant Star.
start materials.jpg
The starting materials are 5 or 6mm china silk fabric and silk thread. This is a very light weight, notice you can see thru one layer, plain weave silk also called habutai. mm stand for momme and is the weight of silk fabric, the larger the number the heavier the same size piece of fabric. The most common weight of china silk used in this country is 10mm, twice the weight of this silk. I use the lighest weight because I put so much yardage into each scarf I don’t want it to feel like wearing a yoke.
The reason that the scarves are so big is that pleating reduces the footprint of the cloth usually to a third.
That is if you start with silk cloth 108 inches long and pleated it with the pleats on the cross grain the cloth will appear about 36 inches long when you are done. Granted there are many variations to get more or less fabric involved in the pleating but this will serve to illustrate why the begining sizes are so large, not at all scarf like. The most of our pleats are on the bias…., any how all of that is figured out in the designing process. Here is a length of china silk cut for a giant star.
unpleated gstar.jpg
Big enough to make a dress!
So the silk from the bolt is cut to size and now must be hemmed with silk thread so that the threads dyes to match the cloth. Some of the hems are hand-rolled hems and some are machine rolled hems. Here is hand rolled hem:
hand rolled hem.jpg
And here is a machine made hem:
machine hem.jpg
The photos are not the same scale, the machine hem is only slightly wider than the hand-rolled but flater. Now one can tell the difference but after they are dyed and pleated there is no noticable difference. I’ll try to get photos at the end to show you.
Now working with this thin silk has it challenges, the fabric structure is easily damaged. Too much agitaion (dyeing or washing) and the normal toothed feed-dogs can damage the silk. We have a machine set up just to sew hems on this delicate silk; rubberized feed dogs, a tiny hole in the throat plate and fine sharp needles.
scroll hemmer.jpg
We do a scroll hem and the scroll part is attached to the machine in front of the presser foot. Thus there is still good pressure on the feed-dogs and the silk feeds smoothly. There is a funny reflection in the photograph that looks like a piece of plastic in there.
With everything set up properly the silk just zips throught the hemmer.
machine hemming.jpg
Now the scarves are ready to dye a base color. Tommorrow I think we’ll dye purple passion.