Inspired by the introduction to shibori that Fiona got at her homeschoolers’ art class, I began sewing and tying a couple of dozen squares of cotton fabric to do my own experiment with the technique. I started this in July of 2012 and then set it aside, about two-thirds completed. I recently dug it out, finishing sewing and tying the last few squares, and then did the dyeing. It was so exciting to pull out the threads I had tied almost two years ago, not remembering what I’d had in mind at the time, not knowing what designs and patterns I’d used.
Shibori is an old Japanese resist technique for fabric dyeing. It was originally developed by peasants who hadn’t the means to purchase woven patterned fabric. Traditionally indigo dye is used. In my case I have an idea for a quilt sashed with various washes of indigo-dyed recycled denim, punctuated by bright eye-catching squares of various shibori patterns, so I chose a deep red for the dyeing. I will probably regret my choice of denim, because of its heavy weight and the technical problems that will create when piecing a quilt top, but I suppose if it ends up feeling impossible I can buy some chambray and use that instead.
There are numerous shibori stitching, folding and tying patterns. I gleaned some of my ideas from the internet, and invented or adapted others. Perhaps the quilt top will take another couple of years to come together, but I’ve had a lot of fun already and feel really satisfied with the results.