Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Heat Set, Shibori Style Pleats

A few months ago I wove a scarf with 3/1 vs. 1/3 twill stripes as an experiment with collapse weave. It was moderately successful, but I wasn't thrilled by the results.

Since then, I've read Catharine Ellis' Woven Shibori and a couple of web posts (Yarn Bits, Aug. 2, 2009), and tried a new experiment with one of my samples.

This sample has a mystery yarn (probably a polyester blend) alternating with a 10/2 unmercerized cotton as the warp with another mystery yarn, most likely an acrylic, as weft.

I stitched gathering threads into the sample every 3/4" to 1" and tied them tightly.

Once stitched and gathered, I steamed the sample for 20 minutes.

The resulting pleats were amazing! Oh, wow! This is what I was hoping for!!! Really, the pleats are wonderfully elastic and I was thrilled with the way this worked!

Some things to note: the imperfections in the gathering remain in the set pleats...see the little blue "bubbles" near the bottom of the piece? See how the piece curves up near the fold between the pleated and un-pleated sections? I'll need to be careful to have the piece gathered smoothly.

One last experiment. I had to see how permanent these pleats were.

A twenty minute soak in lukewarm water did not change them.

The iron set for acrylic (lowest temperature setting on my iron) easily flattened the pleats when the sample was still damp (see section marked with two arrows).

The same low temperature setting also removed the pleats from the completely dry sample (see section with single arrow).

So, my exuberance at seeing pleats is tempered by the knowledge that these are quasi-permanent. They can be washed, but the need to be line dried. My guess is that running this through the drier would remove most of the pleating. I can't wait to try more!

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