Monday, August 25, 2008

Shibori Knits

Shibori is not easily translated into English from Japanese, but it typically is used to describe methods of dyeing where the fabric is shaped and secured prior to dyeing in order to achieve particular results or designs.

Shibori Knitting plays upon that idea by incorporating different techniques to obtain various textural effects via felting.

Shibori Knits: The Art of Exquisite Felted Knits includes 20 richly photographed patterns that make use of various techniques in their creation. The first section, Surrender to Shibori, primarily makes use of hard "resists" like marbles, corks, golf balls, and cabochons to create bubble-like textures in the felted fabric. The second section, Shibori Creativity, makes use of fiber/yarn combinations of felting and non-felting varieties in an interplay of colorwork to create windows or sections of differing texture (a fine example is the hat on the cover of the book). The third section, Subtle Shibori, continues the play with felting and nonfelting fibers, to create ruffle and spiral textures in the finished project.

It is worth noting that the author of the book is the co-founder of Alchemy Yarns, and all the patterns in the book call for the use of yarns from her company - some brief discussion on yarn substitution is provided in the front matter of the book, though no specific other brands are mentioned. Shibori Knits is a lovely book for those looking for some specific guidance or patterns on venturing into the world of felting or "shibori knitting." It was nice to see some of my own "oops" discoveries tamed and controlled into various projects.

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