Monday, July 18, 2011
Shifu! Shifu! Shifu!
I have long been intrigued by shifu, the Japanese paper thread. It seems to be all the rage right now - for a look at what's possible see Heather Sauer's experiments (including a miniature knitted lace dress) and Lizz Aston's incredibly smooth, fine yarns. Velma Bolyard has posted about an awesome looking class on shifu she taught last month. There was an article in the Spring 2011 Spin Off about spinning pattern tissue paper that made it seem quite possible. But it was the weaving of Jean Betts that finally pushed me over the edge into the realm of "must try".
So, having (typically) misplaced the Spin Off article, I barged ahead, working with my vague recollections. I tried cutting strips from the folded pattern tissue of a free store find - first with an X-Acto and ruler (PITA) and then with a rotary cutter (much better).
I didn't dampen them, as the current humidity is so high that moss could grow indoors. Spinning was surprisingly pleasant and easy - I used my lowest ratio whorl, treadled slowly, and used a wee bit of spit for joins. My strips were quite coarse - about 1/4" - but not bad for my first attempt.
I have an obi woven with shifu weft that I will dig up to show you next post.