Shibori and Felting Silk

January 5, 2010

Vintage Silk Scarf

This is a vintage silk scarf that has been part of my large scarf collection for many years, which goes to emancipate any doubt to the longevity of silk. I employed a favorite Japanese Shibori technique consisting of pole wrapping the silk, which I placed on the diagonal, and tied tightly with linen wound around and around the pole. I, then, scrunched the silk together towards the end of the pole or in my case a PVC pipe suspended with a broom.  The exposed portions were discharged dyed leaving the nice taupe/caramel color.  I have worn this scarf for the past twenty years and decided it needed a lift. I removed the hem to provide a nice frayed look and began adding wisps of wool.  Someone made a nice gift to me  of some splendid alpaca from a farm in Wyoming, in natural black, caramel, gray, and white. I thought the black and caramel would marry well with this silk scarf and I felt it met my expectations.  It is very lightweight but I wore it yesterday (temperature was 2F) and it was toasty warm, which amazed me the queen of hard sales. I have not worked with this source of alpaca and I found it rather resistant to felting despite its unbelievable softness. In my readings, I understand the processing, some dyeing or the age of the animal can hinder the felting ability of a fiber, which I have experienced from various sources. The felting ease of some Icelandic lamb’s wool has immensely spoiled me and I have become lazy and nearly intolerant with wool that does not immediately take to bonding together. The lambs wool felts so easily that  in merely  agitating the fleece while washing, it will felt together.  I have washed several batches of this lambs wool and plan to dye it this afternoon, after work.

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