Ikat is the centuries-old art and technique of resist-dying pattern into individual threads before weaving. It is a complex and revered fiber process resulting in graphically elaborate and compellingly beautiful woven cloth. Ikat wrapped yarns, when dipped in vats of dye, instantly become timeless, immersed in an ancient partnership between intention, design, and color. Participants in this three-day workshop will design, wrap, dye, and weave a custom ikat scarf while learning the basic techniques of the warp ikat process. Each participant will stretch a warp for an ikat scarf using warp yarns and a warping board they have brought to class. Several ikat warp wrapping methods will be demonstrated. The first day’s session will culminate in participants dyeing their wrapped warps using Procion Mx fiber reactive synthetic dye and then unwrapping the ikat resist warp bundles. Yarns will dry overnight. On Day 2, each participant will dress & warp their loom with their dyed ikat threads. Yarn handling and four different ikat warp shifting techniques will be discussed & demonstrated. Participants will continue weaving on Day 3, learning further ikat weaving techniques and adjustments for creating many classic ikat designs and patterns.

Instructor: Mary Zicafoose  

Length: 3 Days

Materials Fee: $15, for ikat tape, dye auxiliaries, workshop workbook

Skill Level: Beginning level weaving experience: student should be able to warp a loom and weave without assistance. No previous dyeing or ikat experience is necessary.

Equipment & Supplies to Bring:

  • Portable warping board
  • Two 3” c-clamps for attaching warping board to table
  • Warp yarns – described in workbooksupply sheet
  • Portable workshop loom with reed compatibly sized for a dense warp sett -10-, 12-, or 15-dent
  • Three wooden dowel rods cut 2” narrower than the width of your loom: ½’, ¾”, and 1” in diameter
  • Two shuttles with bobbins + your usual weaving supplies & header materials
  • Wide-eye steel tapestry needle
  • Pair of small sharp scissors

Suggested fibers and setts for the Shifted Warp Ikat Scarf workshop

The goal of this workshop is to teach the introductory skills of warp ikat. The scarf if the simplest format for learning warp ikat. Its long length provides an opportunity for lots of ikat wrapping and experimentation, yielding results that are very satisfying and beautiful. And better yet if dyed in indigo!

Warp ikat is best showcased as warp-face plain weave fabric. To achieve this our scarves will be threaded for plain weave, a 1-2-3-4 straight draw, and densely sett in the reed. Below are some suggestions of warp yarns at warp ikat setts

If you prefer working with a thicker fiber at fewer EPIs use:

  • 5/2 perle cotton, sett at 20 epi, 2 warps/dent in a 10-dent reed
  • 3/2 perle cotton, sett at 16 epi, 2 warps/dent in a 8-dent reed
  • -or a comparable weight natural fiber

Your scarf will be a little stiff and firm, not flowing, but will soften with use—this fiber and sett also make a great a table runner.

For a more flowing, lustrous scarf with a softer hand to the fabric use:

  • 8/2 Tencel, sett at 30 epi, 2 warps/dent in a 15- dent reed or 24 epi, 2 warps/dent in a 12-dent reed

For the ultimate in luxury and drape use:

  • 20/2 Bombyx silk sett at 30 epi, 2 warps/dent in a 15-dent reed, or 24 epi, 2 warps/dent in a 12 dent-reed
  • 20/2 Normandy wet spun linen sett at 24 epi, 2 warps/dent in a 12- dent reed
  • 16/2 Normandy wet spun linen sett at 20 epi, 2 warps/dent in a 10- dent reed