Experimentation

Hi Friends,

In my last newsletter I showed you four scarves woven with the same weft yarns and different warps. I wasn’t all that happy with the way they turned out, which became an opportunity for experimentation.

I’ve never used dye techniques on handwoven scarves before, but I thought — why not? Let’s see what happens.

The first thing I had to do was to twist the fringe on the scarves so it didn’t become a matted mess in the dyeing and washing process. I have a little gadget called a fringe twister, and it takes quite a bit of time to twist and knot all of the fringe.

Once the fringe was secured with twists and knots, I used different resist techiques to create designs for the dye.

With the gray scarf I used a shibori technique called pole wrapping. Shibori is Japanese tie-dyeing that produces geometic patterns on fabric. With pole wrapping, the fabric is wrapped, tied and bunched against a pole, in this case a piece of plastic PVC pipe.

The wrapped scarf was dyed black, except it’s hard to get a good black, and it turned out more gray. The warp yarns on this piece are wool, and the wool felted in the hot-water wash creating a really soft look and feel.

BEFORE:

Cassandra Tondro handwoven scarf

AFTER:

Cassandra Tondro handwoven and overdyed scarf

For the camel scarf I used a fan folded design and moss green dye to complement the pinks and warm brown tones.

BEFORE:

Cassandra Tondro handwoven scarf

 

AFTER:

Cassandra Tondro handwoven and overdyed scarf

The pink and orange scarf was folded into triangles and dyed eggplant, followed by a scrunch dye in rust.

BEFORE:

Cassandra Tondro handwoven scarf

AFTER:

Cassandra Tondro handwoven and overdyed scarf

I did a pole-wrapped blue dye on the pink scarf, and lost most of the pink. It turns out that dyeing handwoven fabric isn’t the same as dyeing commercially produced yardage. Some yarns really soak up the dye. I followed the blue with an indigo scrunch dye, which created a beautiful deep denim color.

BEFORE:

Cassandra Tondro handwoven scarf

AFTER:

Cassandra Tondro handwoven and overdyed scarf

Then there’s this scarf from a few months ago that had dull looking blocks of color. I did a shibori pole wrap and overdyed it fuchsia. Now it’s stunning!

Cassandra Tondro handwoven and overdyed scarf

I think I prefer well done handwoven scarves to overdyed ones. But for those that don’t turn out as expected, overdyeing can create unique and interesting effects.

What role does experimentation play for you? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,
Cassandra

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