Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ikat Dyeing

The new book’s title is Murder To Dye For and the setting is a four day, two weekend, dyeing workshop at Martha’s shop, The Spider’s Web. So I thought you might want to see the results of a dyeing workshop that I went to this past Sunday.

The Hawaii Handweavers Hui had a one day workshop on ikat dyeing. This is a form of dyeing where you wrap the warp and/or weft threads to prevent the dye from penetrating to the threads.  We had measured our warp and weft before we came to the workshop so we could start wrapping right away.  We used a tape that is used to tie up garden plants and can be purchased in garden supply stores. We wrapped the tape tightly around the bundles of warp and weft threads. I chose to do a random pattern for my wrapping. This is an experiment for me. After wrapping the tape tightly, we tied the ends of each bundle with twine to add extra help in keeping dye from seeping through. I hadn’t realized how tightly I was pulling this twine until later the evening when I realized that I had created and broken a blister on my middle finger of my right hand.  If you have never heard of ikat dyeing, you might want to check out this Wikipedia article for a brief description.

We chose to use a cold water, procion dye process to dye our yarn. We had a choice of green, blue or yellow for our colors. I chose green. The yarn had to be soaked first to get it completely wet. Then it was put in the dye bath. We dyed two to three bundles of yarn per bucket and followed a process similar to this one described on Dharma Trading Company’s web site. 

It took a good twenty four hours for my yarn which was 5/2 pearl cotton, to get dry. After that, I removed the tape from the yarn. You can see from the picture below that I did have a little bit of bleed under my tape. And it doesn’t really show well in the picture but the dye broke in a few places and I have small amounts of blue in the bleed through too. 

The yarn is now dry and put away for awhile. My loom is currently in use with another project and I have a couple in line before I get to this one. But I’ll keep you posted and show you the finished project when I’m done. 


  1. That looks awesome. Do you have a plan for the dyed yarn?

    1. Not yet. I'm thinking it will turn into a narrow runner of some sort. I want to play with the ikat weft and see if I can get some sections that have predominate white where others are more intermixed. We'll see. I'll definitely post pictures when I start working on it.

  2. Very interesting. It's pretty amazing that such intricate designs (as shown in the Wikipedia article) can be produced this way. I look forward to seeing yours when completed.

  3. When will the new book be released? I loved the first 2 books! :)