A designer asked me to explain the Ikat weaving process during our Fall fabric presentation at the Wesco Fabrics showroom in the Denver Design District. Ikat fabrics are woven with yarns dyed with a “resist” technique prior to weaving. The yarns are bundled with tight wrappings and then the yarns are dyed. The areas with the “resist” do not take the dye. Kathy Greaser is showing two types of “Ikats” at our presentation; The fabric on the left is printed to look like an Ikat weave and the fabric on the upper right is a “real handwoven Ikat.”
The top image is a printed ikat, “Redondo, color Aqua. The bottom is image a true hand-woven cotton Ikat, “Water World, color Blue Lagoon.
Yarns for an Ikat are tied and bundled and then dyed.
Dyed warp yarns are then laid out before attaching to the handloom. Ikat weaving is different than tie-dyed fabrics and batiks because the resist is applied before weaving.
A hand weaver in India.
The common characteristic “blurriness” like in our pattern “Paint The Town, color Sedona”, is the result of the difficulty the weaver has in lining up the dyed yarns. I love the beautiful rustic look of exotic Ikats, whether printed or hand-woven.
Ikat motifs are classic textile motifs and very popular for window coverings, bedding and furniture. The picture shows a Wesco Fabric embroidery, “In Stitches, color Cloud”, designed to mimic the look of an Ikat.
True Ikats are produced in many areas around the world, including India, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Japan and Indonesia. Most hand-woven Ikats are “single warp Ikat” weaves. “Double Ikats” have warp and weft yarns tied and dyed. We once saw this very rare, and collectable, technique on visit to Tenganan village in Bali.
Photo Credits: Dick Gentry, Wesco Fabrics, Laura & Kiran, Kufri Life, Miss Singh.