Ikat – er – What?!

MargB of Maggie’s Textiles left a lovely comment for me on my last post about multi-colored threads. (It’s now available in pdf format on the Needlework Articles page, by the way.)

In the comment, Marg referred to an “ikated” design, a term I’d never heard before. I knew about Indonesian ikats – the lovely pieces of weaving used for sarongs and tubular skirts, in that I knew they existed. No clue about the process of creating them, though. And I didn’t know that it was a general weaving term.

While trying to track it down, I found several lovely sites on ikats in general — from the scholarly treatise about how the different designs relate to different social groupings in the islands found on asianart.com, to page upon page of photos of beautiful weavings. (Am I a horrible cultural appropriator for wanting access to some of these to use in my art and embroidery?)

The neat links included:

In any case, “ikat” refers to the way the warp or the weft (usually the warp, sometimes both) is measured, tied off and dyed before weaving begins. Marg says she sometimes used spaced dyed yarns to simulate this type of work, and her recent blog post about it explains in greater detail, with a photo of her own work as well…

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