Monday, February 28, 2011

Stitched Shibori with Silk Hemp Blend

What I really love about stitched shibori is that you can use very simple motifs to make very striking textiles. The compression of the stitches create the movement and poetry of the cloth. It's best to keep your designs simple so that they complement the natural visual textures that define stitched shibori.

Yesterday, I stitched a small piece of silk hemp fabric. I drew basic leaf outlines on folded sections of the cloth. I changed the direction of the leaves, just to add some interest. Here is the fabric after I had stitched it and when I was just starting to pull up the stitches.

The key to good stitched shibori is pulling the stitches really really tight. Make sure you have a good strong knot on one end and then pull.....hard. Make sure you wear gloves, or you might shred the skin on your hands! 

 I dyed this piece in a black dyebath. Here's the result. I think the white and grey on black is a particularly effective combination, especially when working with graphic shapes.

I am really enjoying working with this hemp silk blend. It is easy to stitch and takes dye beautifully. One word of advice: be careful when removing the stitching thread. 

Normally, with sturdy hemp linen or cotton, I pull the threads loose, with no damage to my cloth. I discovered on a previous piece of silk hemp that you can't do that with this fabric. It will tear and you'll end up with some holes in your fabric. So, use a magnifying light and carefully snip the threads with a seam ripper. There's nothing worse than spending a lot of time stitching and have your work ruined by some hasty snipping.

Thanks for reading.

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