Thursday, September 27, 2012

Taiten on a rigid heddle loom

According to Catherine Ellis, Taiten was practiced in Japan in the early 20th century. The word refers to gifts made to the Emperor Taisho.

Taiten is a plain weave cloth with a heavy thread placed at regular intervals
in the warp. After weaving , the heavier threads are used to gather the fabric tightly before dyeing. After dying, the heavy warp threads are removed, leaving lacey spaces in regular intervals.

Here is a series of pictures illustrating my process on a rigid heddle loom, plus the end result.

Disclaimer; I am trying out blogger on my iPad. I believe I will blog more if I can do it on this device. And, so far that is true. However, I seem to have no control over the placement or order. Please do your best to relate the random pictures to my narrative. Now back to our story.

Step one: measure a warp of treadsoft super wash wool sock weight yarn at ten ends per inch. This warp was about 80 inches long. Every 7th and 8th thread was a heavier weight hemp yarn. Next time I do this I will use a mercerized cotton, the hemp was not at all slippery, especially when wet.

Step two: plain weave using a fingering weight bamboo silk blended yarn, finished length of the woven price was 62".

Step three: remove from loom. Pull the hemp warp threads from each end, gathering the fabric as tightly as possible. This can cause blisters, so you may want to wear rubber gloves or have bandaids nearby. I was able to gather the entire price down to 9".

Step three: soak the fabric in a vinegar solution for half an hour to prepare the fibers for dying.

Step four: using an acid dye such as lanaset, paint one side of the fabric one color. Paint the other side a contrasting color.

Step five: steam it for 45 minutes.

Step six: this is the hardest part; let it dry.

Step seven: remove heavy warp threads. The resulting fabric will be very springy and will retain the pleats. These pleats are not permanent. For permanent pleats you must use a polyester yarn for the main warp.

Step eight: press fabric, sew into desired shape. I sewed one end of the long rectangle to the side of the other end of the rectangle. There are many ways to do this, so play around with different methods of draping.

I am really happy with this piece, and wear it a lot.

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