Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Shibori Workshop

Have you noticed the upcoming workshop titled "The Mysteries of Shibori" on our class schedule?  Perhaps you are wondering what it is and why we are so excited about it.  We have invited Cindy Lohbeck from Hands on Hand Dyeing to tell you a bit about this technique and give you a bit of information about what we will be doing and what some shibori panels can look like when they are finished:

When I was recently asked to teach a class on Shibori fabric dyeing, my mind and my dye studio went in to high gear. While I have done fabric dyeing and various types of Shibori for over 30 years this request triggered a focused study that kept me fascinated with the possibilities of this workshop.

With the Indigo Dye & Shibori craze sweeping the design world, it was a good kick-start for a long overdue addition to my line of fabric dyeing classes.

But where would I start? Shibori is a very broad, "umbrella" term for a vast array of techniques. How would I ever narrow down to a workshop what I had spent years exploring? With its roots in Japan, India and Africa, Shibori can easily become a long-term creative exploration. Each culture puts their own "twist" on it (pun intended!) and consequently, the variety of Shibori methods are endless.  While some of these techniques are deceivingly easy, many are laborious and time consuming. I know that with the addition of a few modern tools and innovative, time saving techniques, Shibori can be much more accessible for today's fiber artists
Technically, it is taking a 2 dimensional piece of fabric, and manipulating it into a 3 dimensional fabric "sculpture" by using a variety of tools, folds, stitches and tucks. These tools, folds, stitches and tucks create "resists", or areas where dye cannot penetrate. The resulting patterning possibilities are limitless! I quickly dusted off my bucket of Shibori tools - things you would hardly associate with fabric dyeing, including various sizes of marbles, and rubber bands, plumbing pipes, plastic template shapes, a variety of clamps, and a wide range of thread, string and sinew. Many of these tools had been put aside for several years while in pursuit of other creative endeavors, but I could feel the creative juices flowing. I spent the next 3 months working up samples of each Shibori method I wanted to include in the workshop, feverishly stitching and binding, folding, clamping, twisting and wrapping. The samples that came about were fun and inspiring, and spurred me on to dye some drapery panels for my own home.
As I explored the various techniques, and considered the best classroom experience, it became clear that even if I narrowed it down to 7 or 8 styles, it would still need to be a 2 day experience. The idea of giving a classroom of student the identical tools, fabric, and fabric manipulation techniques and ample time for fabric prep on the first day. Day two would begin by introducing several different dye possibilities for each folding method. This would allow every student to put their own twist on each technique, whether they chose traditional Indigo, or a multitude of colors. The diversity of the fabrics that would "unfold" is intriguing to dream about.  One of my favorite examples is this Ne-Maki style Shibori, otherwise known as ring bound Shibori, is traditionally created by binding beads or other small spherical objects with thread. In the example pictured below, I bound the fat quarter very densely with irregular marbles and very small rubber bands. Even though the fat quarter was reduced to the size of my fist, this is a fairly fast technique,  and the results are amazing. (While I love playing in buckets of every color imaginable, I chose to do all of my sampling in traditional Indigo. By keeping it simple, each participant can visualize her own approach to the project.)
As my workshop took shape, and I narrowed the number of styles of Shibori down to a class that gives each participant a diverse and complete experience, I explored techniques known as Itajime, Kumo, Ne-Maki, Karamatsu, Suji, Nui, and several variations of Arashi Shibori. Somewhere along the way, I developed my favorites, and know which styles of Shibori piqued my creative passions. I will definitely continue my personal experimentation in these styles, beyond the scope of the classroom environment, and am grateful the workshop has re-ignited my passion for Shibori. I am excited about the fabrics I envision in my minds eye, and how I will execute them with the tools and techniques I have acquired. Most of all, I can't wait to pass the fun on! I know that at least one person in every workshop will catch the Shibori fever and continue to stitch and bind, fold, clamp, twisting and wrap their way into some beautiful and unique Shibori fabrics.
Ready to sign up?  You can click on the classes tab of our website --  for all the details.  Hope to see you there!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Going Crazy - with crazy quilt stitches!

June 21, 2013


As if life isn’t crazy enough, Kaye and I have gotten hooked playing with crazy quilt stitches and blocks.  Since we love twilling, we decided to start adding other stitches to our twilling projects which then led to playing with all kinds of crazy quilt stitches, which in turn, led to experimenting with silk ribbon embroidery and beads.  
Oh, the beads! The crazy quilt blocks I have been working on are made with brighter, more modern looking fabric which lends itself perfectly to BLING!  I started out with just a few beads, but then I had to keep adding more and more and more. 
Kaye is using more vintage style fabric and silk ribbon embroidery looks great on it.  She has been using several different widths and types.  She has used some hand dyed which is beautiful.  The quilt shop has also started to carry a larger variety of silk ribbons and beads - and books related to crazy quilting. 

Getting started on a crazy quilt block is very simple.  We have been foundation piecing our basic block using Carol Daok’s paper piecing paper.  Patterns for the blocks are available in many books and EQ computer software.  I’m sure you can also google it and come up with some patterns OR simply take a ruler and drawn lines through a square at different angles and you have now made your own pattern. 

Then pick a variety of fabrics using many different types of fabrics (cotton, velveteen, wovens, silk …) and piece your block.   After removing the paper from the back of the block, we then iron on a fusible stabilizer to the back or if you foundation piece with the pattern drawn on fabric, you won’t need to do this as the foundation will act as a stabilizer. 

Now the real fun begins.  We look through all kinds of crazy stitch books and pictures of crazy quilts to look for ideas for what we want to accomplish.   We usually start by decorating the seams in the block and then fill in the open areas with a variety of stitches and embellishments.  It is much easier to do all the stitching first, then add the embellishments.  If the buttons, beads, or silk ribbon are added as you go, your thread will catch on EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM as you try to complete other stitches on the block.  So, we suggest you plan out what you want to do, but wait until the stitching is complete before adding the embellishments. 

If you are in Eudora area, you are welcome to come by Quilting Bits & Pieces and take a look at the blocks we have completed.  We also have a Crazy Quilt Club that meets once a month.  The charge is only $5.00 and you have the option of purchasing a kit for $10.00

I hope you get as excited about this as I am.  And PLEASE bring in any completed (or partially completed) blocks.  We love show and tell. 

(the proud grandma of Will, Olivia, Luke, Brady, and new twins: Lincoln and Audrey pictured here)