This vintage Japanese cotton plaid was hand woven using machine spun thread during the first half of the 20th century. The weaver included chunky silk threads in the weft to mimic the texture of hand spun threads. The deep indigo colors are great and the fabric has a wonderful worn feel. this fabric had been used as the top of a futonji.
Here is a new piece of cotton zanshi fabric I found. Zanshiori is the fabric woven at the end of a bolt that has a random pattern due to the use of leftover threads. I love the feel of this fabric. the knots give it a homemade rustic feel. The worn colors of this piece are also really nice. some of the strips seem like they may have once been red or pink probably from a commercial dye that was prone to fade over time. the indigo blue has held up well and still holds a deep dark blue in some spots.
this fabric can be purchased at: https://www.etsy.com/listing/158501070/antique-handwoven-japanese-zanshi-indigo?ref=shop_home_active
I’ve been spinning cotton for about 3 years now. I started by using a drop spindle and then moved to a spinning wheel and charkha. I have experimented spinning short staple, long staple upland and naturally colored cotton. Its really rewarding to dye upland cotton thread with indigo. Because of the luster in upland cotton the resulting color is bright and picks up different levels of color due to how much oxidation occurs. The process of spinning my own thread has allowed me understand the huge amount of patience and talent held by spinners dyers and weavers in the past.
Katazome is produced by pushing rice paste through a stencil, traditionally made of handmade paper treated with unripe persimmon juice, onto fabric. The rice paste is allowed to dry slightly before being dyed. the rice paste is then washed off to reveal the design. I adore the design of elongated sea holly flowers on this fabric. I think this fabric was once used as a futon cover. what a beautiful pattern to fall asleep under.
Here is some Zanshi or “left over thread” fabric I recently found. Zanshi was traditionally woven at the end of a bolt of kimono fabric. Once the kimono length had been woven the weaver would use up left over threads and bits and pieces left at the ends of bobbins to fill up the end length of warp. The resulting fabric was used for domestic purposes while the kimono bolt was more than likely sold. Zanshi was used most often for futon covers or work clothing. Notice the variation in pattern due to the different colors of left over threads.
In these last two photos you can see the numerous knots used to bind the left over threads.
This furoshiki or “carrying cloth” was made from rustic hand spun cotton. The design of a ginger flower kamon against a deep indigo background was achieved through the process of tsutsugaki. Rice paste was pushed through a small metal tip affixed to a paper bag. After the design had been executed the fabric was dyed and then washed to reveal the outline of the ginger flower kamon. rice paste would have then been applied again to the areas that are now white before drying for a second time.
The deep indigo color of the background could have taken, as many as, 20 dips into the indigo dye vat to achieve, while the light blue of the kamon more than likely only took a few. This attests to the great skill of old Japans rural dyers.
This furoshiki also has some beautiful repairs. there are several mended holes within the kamon itself, but one of the most beautiful is located at the center bottom of the furoshiki. This indigo patch has been applied with indigo dyed thread. I love the unintended texture of this patch.
This antique paper covered basket holds some of the yarns I have been making over the past few months. The basket itself is really special. It has been covered with a layer of hand spun cloth and then encased in multiple layers of paper taken from daifukucho or shopkeepers ledgers. some of this paper has been treated with persimmon tannin which turned the paper dark red/brown and made the basket waterproof. I think the basket is probably from the early Meiji period.
Here are some wisteria or fuji yarns. The blue has been dyed with indigo.
I dyed this fuji yarn with indigo that was past its prime. It has a gray quality I really like.
This paper yarn or shifu I made from part of a roll of washi paper I found. I cut the paper into a long narrow strip and then spun it using an Ashford spinning wheel. the thread is really strong and has a lot of elasticity. I would like to try dying shifu in the future but it seems like the nature of paper and water might cause problems.
This is yarn I made from scrap cloth cut into strips and spun. some of the cloth has been dyed with indigo.