Ikat Dyeing with Mary Zicafoose, Day One

In a weekend workshop with Mary Zicafoose, nine lucky weavers tried their hands creating small pieces with her signature weft-faced ikat form of tapestry. Here’s my step-by-step during this amazing opportunity.

To start, we examined her weft-faced ikat with awe. Here are details from some of the pieces she brought.

Even the little sampler was captivating, especially when she told us it had been done by her daughter — when she was in second grade.


We finished tying on our linen warps for our small pieces. No one warps a loom as beautifully as Donna Hanson, so I’ll show hers!


We stretched threads on ikat boards, wrapping the sections where the dye will not reach. We used special Japanese ikat tape, sort of like cellophane wrap on a roll.  Mary had used cut-up Hefty-type bags for years before a friend said to her, “You know, Mary, every grocery store in Japan sells ikat wrapping tape.” Now she buys that tape by the boxful.

Perhaps we could play cribbage when we tire of stretching threads?
Mary demonstrated how to twine the yarn together so that it stays in order in the dyepot.

Then we taped off the areas for our designs.  Mine will be a simple oval.


While clenching our teeth, waiting for something to go horribly wrong, we lifted our prepared weft off the pegs.


After rinsing with the wetting agent, it went into the dark blue dye bath.


By the time the weft was drying on the line, ready for weaving in the morning, we were all pleasurably exhausted.

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