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Weavers! You are more than your rags

Sakiori weavingWeaving with rags is such a wonderful tradition. In Japan it is called sakiori.  It’s one of the few things where old and worn out is a good thing. In fact it’s better than when it is new.  Old worn clothing gets softer as the cloth breaks down and is laundered. The cloth I stripped here was soft and on its way out but didn’t have any holes. It’s now become ‘brand new’ and young again ready for another life by weaving it into a new structure. It is one of the most satisfying weaves you can do. At least in my little opinion. Like baking bread it makes you feel so independent and powerful…even though I’m not.

cutting cloth strips for yarn

I had a nice time stripping up the cloth on the Saori Sakiori cutter. It was rather the stress buster. It’s good to change tac once in a while in our work and spend time in preparation rather than the wading in the doing.

And I’ve come to realise that we are more than these rags in our weaves. The word ‘rag’ just doesn’t have the same elegance as ‘sakiori’ does it?  Just as the word ‘boro’ conjures up great beauty not ‘great impoverishment and having to patch and re patch clothes’.

Rag yarn is great by itself but it can be much more.  Here I’m adding at least two cotton threads in with the rag yarn and changing their mix as I weave. This creates an undercolour and shading. A nice way to play with tones based on the colouring in the strips. It probably makes it a bit heavy for clothing though. You can also do magical threadings with the plain weave, which I haven’t done here but it’s in my memory book for next time. 



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