Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Exploring Hand Stitched Shibori: Japanese Larch

Candace Edgerley here with my last post on hand stitched shibori techniques. My final post will be the announcement tomorrow, August 31, 2016, from the random drawing of those who have left comments at the end of my blog posts. The lucky person will receive one of my silk shibori pillows.

The technique I'm introducing in this post is the Japanese Pine Larch - Karamatsu stitch. 
Japanese Larch - Karamatsu shibori, linen, MX Procion dye
Stitched on the fold, half concentric circles are marked on the fabric, stitched through the two layers of fabric with a running stitch and the threads are drawn up tightly. 
The distance between the marked circles and the size of the stitch will vary the results.

The concentric circles can be spaced evenly or randomly depending on the results you are looking for. A light pencil line or a disappearing marker can be used to mark the lines for stitching. Making half circle template pieces from a sturdy cardboard (maybe from a file folder) can come in handy when marking more than one circle across a width of fabric. Be sure you line up the center of each half circle as you lay it on the fold. Or, you might want to dig out your grade school protractor with a pencil attached. 

On the fold of the fabric above, I have marked the circles for stitching with a dotted line. I was recently asked to teach a short workshop where time was an issue and wanted to pre-mark the fabric for the students. Having just taken a class in using a laser cutter at our local Techshop, I was able to design my template in Adobe Illustrator and cut a Mylar stencil for marking a row of three concentric circles. I brushed the fugitive dye I purchased on a trip to Japan across the stencil to mark the napkins used for the class. 
Section of the laser cut Mylar stencil used to mark fabric. 
If more than one circle is stitched in a row, the threads can be carried across from one circle to the next. I recommend stitching the largest circle first which helps to stabilize the fabric for additional rows. The circles can be in staggered rows.

When the threads are drawn up, in the case of these three circles, they form a triangle shaped bundle. After pulling up the threads, inch across them with your finger nails to further tighten the rows. Spray with water to swell the fabric and threads which will make it easier to pull up the threads even tighter and tie off with knots.

Before dyeing the piece, soak in plain water for 30 to 60 minutes and follow the directions for dyeing the piece. After removing from the dye, rinse the excess dye from the fabric in cool water before putting it into the washing machine. All work should be washed in hot water following the dye bath. I recommend using synthrapol in the wash out.
The Japanese Larch - Karamatsu shibori, cotton napkin, MX Procion dye

I still find it amazing that the knots in each row of stitching create such a perfect resist. See the small dots in the right side of the right hand circle above.
Japanese Larch - Karamatsu shibori, cotton, MX Procion dye
I haven't mentioned the dye process in this blog hoping that, if you aren't already a dyer, you might be inspired to give it a try. Whether you are an experienced dyer or just starting, please do follow safety measures when handling the dye. Most companies that sell dye provide information about safety measures on their websites as well as downloadable copies of the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) sheets. I use ProChemical & Dye's Studio Safety Guidelines as one of my class handouts.  

Before I leave the blog, I'd like to share with you some of my shibori resources. There are many very good shibori books available, but the most comprehensive book I own is co-authored by Yoshiko Wada, Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing. Other resources on Yoshiko's website include the World Shibori NetworkSlow Fiber Studios, and lots of books, etc in her Online Shop. You will find me in Oaxaca Mexico in November with Yoshiko attending the 10th World Shibori Network Symposium. I've attended previous Symposiums in Santiago, Chili; Paris, France; and Hangzhou, China. Yoshiko's Slow Fiber Studios educational textile tours have taken me to Japan and India.

Ana Lisa Hedstrom has a very good series of shibori technique DVD's. The series covers Stitch Resist Reconsidered, Arashi Shibori (pole wrapped), and Itajime Shibori (clamped). The series is well worth the investment. 
Detail, Archean Remains, silk organza, acid dye, pieced.
So, I hope you have gained an appreciation for shibori and will give it a try. The magic caught up between the folds always presents the most interesting results. And remember, it doesn't need to be just blue and white. Try some color as well!

One more chance to be in the drawing for one of my silk hand dyed shibori pillows which will take place tomorrow.  Just make a comment below to be included in the drawing.


  1. Thank you so much for your article! I've been studying dying techniques for a while now, and this was such a great resource for any level of Shibori student!

  2. Fabulous shibori, thanks for sharing!

  3. Fabulous work. You've inspired me to get back at it!

  4. Thanks for sharing the techniques and your wonderful work!

  5. These techniques are so interesting. I tried some last week and look forward to doing more. Thanks for posting the info!

  6. I have really enjoyed all of your Shibori posts and have learned a lot.. Thank you so much for sharing!

  7. Awesome pillows - they look so gorgeous!

  8. A labor of love. Very beautiful and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  9. I love your efforts at being inclusive. Your tecniques are well describer and clear for understanding. I wold love one of your pillows.

  10. These are gorgeous! Love the process!

  11. Very impressive work and great tutorial. Thank you kindly.

  12. Great lesson, what beautiful work

  13. Fabulous work and lovely dyeing. Thank you for sharing.

  14. I have done some shibori, but nothing as carefully thought out and executed as you have. Thanks for the instruction and inspiration!

  15. I love what you have done with this technique. It is on my list to try, thanks for sharing your process.

  16. Your last post!!! Say it ain't so!!! I've so enjoyed these!

  17. I am intrigued by your posts on shibori dyeing. Thanks so much!

  18. Love your results. I am currently stitching up a banner to dye and have some other shibori samples I want to make into a dress. Thanks for the inspiration.


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