Ikat Dyeing Workshop, Day Two

On day two of Mary Zicafoose’s workshop, the students headed to their looms to weave in the dyed weft. It was tricky!  Would our wefts correctly match the width of our warps so that the pattern would line up with each shot?  Testing revealed whether a warp thread or two might have to be removed, or even a warp thread added at one or both edges.  In my case, I needed to remove one warp thread to even up the pattern.  Katherine Buenger needed to add warp threads.  (I think that means that I wound my yarn on the ikat board very tightly, and Katherine wove loosely, or that there was just a difference in the peg spacing on the boards we used.) Here, Mary was demonstrating how to check to see if the pattern was going to lay in correctly.  It’s a FUNNY video because I somehow hit the slow motion button.  Also, note the person standing in the hallway and watching through the window.  People love watching weavers

After dyeing the weft, you carefully wind the yarn onto the shuttles, taking care to keep them in order so that the pattern unfolds correctly.  Here’s my yarn on the shuttles for my oval.


The oval is a bit flat at the top and bottom! It was a struggle to get the simple pattern lined up, and I think it was because when I used the ikat board,  my first-time stretching tension was pretty uneven. Yet, I loved the irregularities.


Beth Heikkila managed beautiful edges to her pattern.  This cross is strong and amazing.


On the one hand, we strove to wrap our yarn tightly and accurately, to prevent bleeding, and we worked to insert the yarn to make the pattern appear properly.  But Mary emphasized, again and again, that it’s the happy accidents that make the textile engaging and beautiful.  Katherine Buenger’s first lines included irregularities, probably where the dye wicked under the wrapping. Get out!  It’s so pretty.


By the afternoon we began wrapping a second pattern on the ikat boards, which we all accomplished in a blink compare to the awkward first time. Now I wrapped an X.  (Faithful blog readers will know that I am in the midst of a series of Xs this year.)


Mary mixed another pot of deep navy blue, and also a red pot. A tough decision.  I went with the blue again, and then felt a tad sad that I hadn’t dyed the X in the rich red.  Here’s another student’s weft, hanging to dry.


Aren’t these wefts on the line like fun yarn zebras?


Here’s my unwrapped X, waiting for weaving on day three.



  1. Hi Robbie, Sorry I could not post this comment in your regular way. I wondered if Mary was wearing an weft-ikat-dyed necklace? Love the workshop, Sara


    1. Yes, thanks for catching that; I intended to mention it. Mary is wearing an ikat-dyed warp made of fine threads. She said that it’s the preferred jewelry for everyone who works in her studio.

Leave a Reply