Home PageDyeingThe ClothRoads Scarf of the Month: The Indigo Spiral

Mar 14

The ClothRoads Scarf of the Month: The Indigo Spiral

This I know–one cannot have too many scarves. And since the launch of ClothRoads, my drawers are brimming. I have a few cold-weather scarves—handmade, of course, but the others tend towards the “statement-making” variety. I’m often asked what compels me about a scarf so I’ll share my insights with you monthly as I pick my favorite one. This month, it’s the Indigo Spiral that enticed me.

The Weave

Since I am a weaver and dyer, I usually focus on a weave structure first. I’ve been entranced by this cloth from the first time I laid eyes on it, even before it was printed and dyed. Look at its fineness—silk with a warp sett at about 50 ends per inch. For the non-weaver, this means there’s about 50 silk threads in any given vertical inch. For this cloth, some of the weft (the crosswise or horizontal thread) is plain weave, going over and under every one of the warp threads in an almost-transparent ½” section, woven with the same fine silk as the warp. This is followed by a 1/2” of a tussah silk, a more-textured silk with some bumpiness to it, woven fairly dense so the warp is almost covered. This sequence is repeated through the whole cloth. What a simply subtle weave. So, yes, I fell in love with the weave structure first.

Handwoven, indigo-dyed, block-printed silk fabric from Creative Bee in India. Upper half is shown against light background; lower half against black background.

The Dye

Next comes the indigo dyeing—that magic dye that breathes the heavens of blue into the cloth. I do feel that way about indigo especially after watching Mary Lance’s dvd Blue Alchemy, Stories of Indigo for the third time.  It’s at this point that I’m having trouble sorting out if the weave seduced me first or the indigo.  If you’ve dyed with indigo before, you know what I mean.  Try my Alchemy of Indigo blog to learn more.

The Pattern

What happens next, in the making of this cloth, is rich– the printing of the spiral repeat with discharge paste, the cloth then sun dried, steamed, and washed; the white and light blue marks remaining where the indigo was removed from the fabric. You can experience the making of this cloth at Creative Bee Block Printing, as documented by David McLanahan.

Indigo-dyed, handwoven silk cloth being printed with discharge paste to make spiral design.


The Cloth and Scarf

This cloth has been snatched up many times at textile shows that we decided to make it into scarves–exclusive to ClothRoads. Now you too can let these spirals, forever stamped, curl around the edges of your neck and be enraptured too. They’re now available in the ClothRoads store along with other ClothRoads-exclusive  scarves.

Handwoven, hand-dyed indigo, and block-printed with natural dyes, this beautiful silk fabric has layers of design.


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