I love ikat (Indonesia) or kasuri (Japan) or the process of winding and dyeing areas of the warp and or weft to create patterns. One of the best and most approachable books on the topic I’ve encountered is Japanese Ikat Weaving: The Techniques of Kasuri I’m not sure how easy it is to obtain now but it’s worth getting a copy if you are interested in an overview with instructions on how it is done. As I’m hoping to study Kasuri in Japan later this year I thought I’d review it all again.
Kasuri can get very complicated and it is nothing short of remarkable how some patterns are produced (see Double Ikats from Tenganan in Bali). A large amount of exactness and accuracy is required for good patterning and often very simple looms which depend entirely on the skill of the weaver/dyer are used. But it can be used in a looser way to add another dye/colour feature to any cloth. It is very rewarding to do.
In weft kasuri the exact amount of weft required for every row is calculated with a sample on the warp. Then a weft is wound to those dimensions. You can see here that I improvised with two clamps spaced at the interval required. I then tied the resists in the pre-planned pattern – aka three squares. However, better still,Â I’ve just received a Weft Ikat Stand from Japan which does the job beautifully. I can spin it around to create the weft skein and mark out the pattern on the stand. It is a lovely tool which will be put to good use.
The skeins are then dyed with the resists in place. I used my new electric pot that I bought from the tip shop. What a find. I don’t usually use a heat process for silk but my little pot makes the sampling process very speedy. When I find it works I will dye them with fibre reactive dyes and no heating. The last pic shows the exciting part 1, untying the resists. Yes there is some work involved in the process but when playing around with colours in the dyepot I get very unique results for my cloth.