Saturday, 7 March 2015

Combining a Difficult Palette of Warp Threads

Putting together a beautiful warp is one of the more enjoyable steps in the long process from the silk moth egg to silk cocoon to cloth.  (Much more enjoyable than weeding an overgrown-rainy-season-mosquito-infested mulberry field on sweltering humid days in July.

 I had some beautiful reeled double cocoon thread sitting in a box from years back. Elizabeth wanted to see a Japanese loom warped. (Should have known better to work under a deadline.) I dyed the thread with madder, gardenia pods, indigo and oak bark individually and over each other. The colours were fresh and spring-like. The problem was forcing them together in a reasonable warp.

Looked pretty daunting & nightmarish.

It warped like this and I figured it would manageable. After World War Two the women in my area would weave with whatever thread they could get their hands on. Bright colours were welcome to brighten spirits. The contrasting colours were put together and the sheer will of the weaver somehow made them work together. I figured this might be the case with these colours. Natural dyes almost always work well enough together. 

Elizabeth painstakingly wove eight colours in the weft for a few meters. Her sheer will made it work. Far less patient and with almost no free time to weave I will weave up the remaining seven meters with a red weft and dye the whole thing with madder when it is finished. The texture of the threads is sublime. The colours just couldn't be forced to sing. It will make a gorgeous red lining for a hanten jacket this autumn when over-dyed deep red. 


  1. I rather like the blended colours but overdyeing is always a good backup plan. I'll remember to never visit in July!

    1. Jean with you there I would suffer the mosquitos and enjoy the weeding!

  2. looks gorgeous to me...but then my own weaving is pretty dodgy at the best of times

  3. i've even taken to overdyeing papers with good results...mostly. july is hot and humid here, too. it's worse there? i wondered why folks seem to not visit in midsummer!

  4. the warp does sing to me. and those pretty little ito makis do the dance to the music. ♥♥ ito makis

  5. I am interested in visiting Japan (from California) next year and see you have textile related workshops. Could you please tell me more about them?

  6. Hi Tobie,
    Please email me at

  7. Thanks for explain such a great topic about textile weaving. I have got some awesome information which i was looking for a few days. This article helps me to do my assignment for university.

  8. I'm excited to learn about you and your world. I have my own shibori world for 27 years in the US . Yours is very interesting. I hope some day to come to your world for a workshop.

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