Friday, November 14, 2008

Learning Ikat Technique

By Leigh

Karen Madigan is teaching an "Easy Ikat and Warp Painting Workshop" for the Online Guild this month. Both of these techniques are new for me.

Ikat is the one technique that has puzzled me. "Warp painting" seems pretty self explanatory, but "ikat"? What in the world is that? So far I have learned that the word is Malaysian, for a type of tie-dye. Thanks to Karen's well explained lessons, I am getting a better idea of what that actually means.

For this workshop we are combing both techniques to make bookmarks. I decided to measure and dye my ikat bouts first.

First I measured three, 3 yard bouts, and learned how to tie them in the ikat resist technique.

Ikat with CatI cut up plastic shopping bags for the ties. Here is a close up....

Close-up of ikat tiesThe tying is actually quite simple. Not only was it well explained in the lesson notes, but Karen also demonstrates it in a YouTube video. Click here to view that. At first I thought the tying would be tedious, but it really went quite quickly once I got the hang of it.

Karen recommended dyeing the ikat bouts with a dark color, such as black or dark blue. I have heard that dyeing black is difficult, but I followed her recipe using Procion MX's Pro Black 602A (from Pro Chemical & Dye), and was pleased with the results.

Ikat warp dyed & dried.For 11 grams of yarn I used:

  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. washing soda
  • 250 mls warmish water plus
  • 50 mls of 1% dyestock (from 1 tsp of dye powder in 100 mls water)
This is a lot of dyestock, but it did achieve black for me. The yarn sat in the dyebath for about an hour. I stirred almost constantly for the first 15 minutes, and occasionally during the last 45.

The next step will be to measure the warp bouts to be painted, and then do those. Maybe over the weekend?

Posted 14 Nov. 2008 at

Related Posts:
1st Procion MX Dye Experiments
Experiments in Warp Painting
Weaving At Last - project details
Ikat/Painted Warp Bookmarks Done - how it turned out


Cerita said...

I love the Ikat fabric! I a few Indian Ikat saris, which I wear often. It is such a beautiful fabric! Ikat fabrics are woven in many areas of South East Asia and India. Indian Ikat is slightly different from South East Asian Ikat.

I would love to learn this technique at some point in my weaving life :). Can't wait to see your finished fabric Leigh!

Anonymous said...

Leigh, I think you have the most beautiful plastic bags ever! They are a gorgeous colour and look diaphanous, like fine silk gauze! But that pales beside your ikat warp, which I think has the cleanest demarcation I've seen. I only hope that mine (which I hope to do this weekend) look half as good.

Peg in South Carolina said...

You are obviously more dextrous than I. I loathe tyeing those knots! Kitty made the picture!

MiniKat said...

Interesting. I shall show this to a friend while she's visiting. She is more of a dyer than I and I know she'll will think it's neat.

bspinner said...

Interesting and fun! I love the picture of Rascal giving the warp a puzzled look. Makes you wonder what he's thinking.

Gertieanne said...

Hi Leigh,

I would love to learn Ikat weaving and congratulations.


Dorothy said...

Oh, this is a good start Leigh! Isn't it a great way to get extra value out of old plastic bags ;)

Meg said...

Among other things, what Alison said!!

Anonymous said...

I find UNtying the knits so much more tedious than tying them. I'm always reminded of snakes when the ties are removed. I'm excited to see where you go with this!

Leigh said...

I appreciate everyone's comments. If you haven't done this already, it's definitely something to try.

Cerita, I am interested that there are different types of ikat. This is definitely something to explore in the future.

Alison, that particular blue plastic bag is the one that our newspaper comes in. It is made of the same stuff as the grocery store bags though.

Minikat, maybe your friend will talk you into doing some dyeing projects during her visit!