Weaving the mats for the ikat binding of the weft threads. Since the wefts are continuous in the final weaving, all the pattern mats for the wefts need to be connected and continuous. That means all the mats for each and every change in the pattern wefts need to be woven in the binding warp so they are connected! I was thrilled to see this young woman training to do this highly skilled operation. I think the loom had a pneumatic assist so the beat was hard enough. [click photos to enlarge]
Here are the woven mats to bind the weft threads for one repeat of a design.
Here are the starched threads which will be woven into the binding mats. 16 silk threads are wound as one and stick together when starched. The result will be white dots or dashes remaining after the binding is done and the dyeing and finally the woven silk fabric which is called Amami Oshima Tsumugi.
I became curious how the mats were unwoven to access the warp and weft threads. The demo in the video was dramatic.
This piece of equipment has 16 hooks and is used to wind the individual 16 threads taken from the starched “thread” that was woven in the mats.
Here the 16 individual threads are being separated from within the starched “thread”. You can see where the dye hit the threads and where the dye was resisted by the binding to produce the white areas. This is a mat made of warp threads. These mats are woven separately as opposed to the continuous mats for the wefts.
The patterned threads for the warp are wound on this cardboard then put on the loom. The little bags are the pattern wefts that go with this warp. Here is the patterned threads for 2 kimonos. The final cloth is woven with solid color and patterned threads in both the warp and weft.