9.2.16

There’s no better time for a DIY than the cozy month (and long weekend!) ahead. We’re elevating the basic tie dye look with this simple and gorgeous technique for creating delicate little stripes – perfect for pillow cases and turkish towels.

Designer and fine arts professor, Sasha Duerr, is showing us how with this “arashi shibori” technique from the pages of her new book Natural Color. This guide to natural dyes is one of the prettiest books to land on our desks this month, filled with natural plant dyes made from seasonal elements from fruits to leaves. This simple but stunning (and totally therapeutic) project snagged our attention at first glance…

Arashi is the Japanese word for “storm,” and the pattern is thought to evoke driving rain and wind. Arashi shibori is also known as pole-wrapping shibori. In this method, the cloth is wrapped straight or on the diagonal around a pole and then very tightly bound by winding thread or twine up and down the pole. You can also scrunch the cloth on the pole after binding it. The result is a pleated textile with a design on the diagonal.

5 Steps of Arashi shibori

Prep the pole:
Fold clean, pre-scoured fabric, suitable for the dye bath you are working with, around a pole of the right size (for king-sized bed pillowcases, I used a PVC pipe with a diameter of five inches) that can be safely submerged in the dye bath. PVC or stainless steel pipe comes in appropriate diameters and is nonreactive; you can have a length cut at most hardware stores or visit a reuse salvage shop or yard. I love working with arashi in a bucket or larger indigo dye vat, as these deeper vessels accommodate longer poles when off the heat.

bind the cloth:
Depending on the thickness of the lines you wish to repeat, you can bind the fabric with sewing thread, cotton twine or rope. Make sure that the thread is strong and long enough to wrap in the complete desired pattern. Waterproof masking tape can help you hold the fabric in place while you get the best, most even wrapping around your pole.

Bunch + Secure:
Once you are done wrapping, you can push all the fabric (still wrapped with thread) tightly into a bunch and secure it with an extra knot or piece of masking tape before submerging the wrapped pole into the dye bath/color of choice.

Dip into Dye:
For indigo dyeing, submerge the pole in room-temperature dye for three minutes. Take it out for three minutes to expose the fabric to air, thereby oxidizing the blue. Then redip according to how dark you want the fabric. For warm and hot baths, submerge the fabric for at least 15 minutes or more. You can take the dye bath off the heat and leave the wrapped pole submerged overnight for more saturated colors.

Rinse + Unwrap:
When the desired shade has been achieved, remove the pole from the dye bath. While it is still wrapped and bound, rinse it in clear water. Unwrap the fabric and admire the beautiful pattern you have made. Wash the arashi-patterned fabric with pH-neutral soap, rinse thoroughly and hang to dry. You may use the extra-dyed string that made the pattern to embroider, knit or crochet – or even use it to tie up the fabric you’ve dyed as a gift!

Reprinted with permission from Natural Color, by Sasha Duerr Fossel, copyright 2016, published by Watson-Guptill Publications, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photography copyright 2016 by Aya Brackett.


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