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Getting ready for sakiori

Cut the tube into strips, stopping about 2 cms before the other end of the tube

I recently came across an inspiring article and sample from the Complex Weavers – Japanese Textile Study group on Sakiori weave. This is a rag weaving technique which uses the  weft of old worn kimono strips, recycling them into other woven items or new clothes.

Don't cut the strips all the way through on one edge of tube.

I’ve always admired this technique and its possibilities which are similar to the original principle behind patchwork quilting. I see  it as a way to collect memories of previous clothes and people, extending and changing the life of textiles. Today we use the word sustainability.

To cut into a continuous length, open out the tube at the uncut end and cut each strip across to its adjacent one

Other cultures, such as Scandinavia have extensively explored this technique to create rugs and other textiles. Many different weave structures can be used and print fabrics automatically add a subtly to the cloth.

I had been given a beautiful silk skirt which I have been wanting  to use in this type of weave for years. Suddenly I saw a good use for it on my Saori warp and also as a pre-planner for my 24 shaft Toika. After unstitching the whole skirt, I cut the rag strips by joining the fabric into a tube and cutting at about 2 cm widths. I was careful not to cut the strips through to the other edge of the tube. Then, as you can see here, I opened out the tube at the uncut end and cut each strip across to the adjacent one on the other side. This will create a continuous strip with sewn joins throughout.

Wind the continuous strip onto a ski shuttle

To prepare for the weaving, I wound the long strip onto a ski shuttle, but a stick shuttle would also have done the job.

Can’t wait to see it mingling in the weave.

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