Shibori is a Japanese term describing various types of resist dyeing that involve tying and manipulating fabric to create various color effects. Shibori felting applies these fabric manipulation techniques to felt wool. This results in unique and fascinating texture effects in the finished fabric.
Let’s have a deeper look into Shibori felting, including how to do it in the comfort of your home.
Understanding Shibori Felting
To begin with, felting is a technique knitters normally use to enhance the look of their projects. You can felt any knitted item, be it a hat, scarf, or rug. However, the look of the finished felted item largely depends on the type of yarn used to make the item.
If you want to achieve the best results, consider felting items created with some combination of mohair, wool, angora, alpaca, or Ilama. If the item you’re felting will be worn by a person with sensitive skin, you should go for the softest fabric available. Such a fabric will be the most comfortable to wear after the felting process.
It is worth noting that Shibori felting is more of an art than science. Hence, you should keep in mind that you may not always get the results you desire when working with this technique. Moreover, in light of the fact that shibori is permanent, there is no way to undo your mistakes. It is advisable to just practice on a small piece of similar fabric before you commit to felting a larger fabric.
When done correctly, Shibori felting can result in a product with plush colors and rich textures. With this technique, you can achieve a similar look by stitching, wrapping, clipping, and tying various parts of fabric before the felting process. Once you remove these alterations after you’re done felting, you will be left with fabric that features an exceptional textural appeal.
While the actual steps involved in shibori normally vary according to the type of item you want to make, the basic concept is quite simple.
So, let’s look at how to do shibori felting.
What You Need for Shibori Felting
- Rubber bands
- Sharp scissors
- Old wool sweater or hand-knitted fabric made from at least 80% wool.
- Round wooden beads or glass pebbles.
- Bulldog clips
- Washing machine
How to Do Shibori Felting
- Prepare the fabric you wish to felt by either finishing your knitted item or cutting apart your old wool sweater.
- Using the rubber bands, wrap the fabric around glass pebbles or round wooden beads.
- Clip parts of the fabric together to create pleats if you so desire.
- Wash your fabric in the washing machine on the hottest water setting. Make sure the water level remains fairly low. A high water level will reduce the friction needed to complete the felting process.
- Then, dry your fabric in the dryer on low. You should remove your item when it is about halfway dry. This prevents excessive shrinkage. Clean the dryer’s lint traps once you’re finished felting.
- Air dry as desired. When your fabric is completely dry, simply remove the clips and rubber bands to reveal the wonderful textured effect.
Shibori felting may sound outlandish, but it is a fairly simple technique that can add a stylish, new look to your fabric and home décor projects. This article presents you all the basic things you need to know about shibori as a decorating technique.