I have recently explored guntai shibori, after being inspired by Jane Callender’s book “Stitched Shibori”.
Indeed I had seen images of fabrics created by what appeared to be overstitching and gathering the fabric up as you stitched but I hadn’t explored it further until her book came along and I saw there was a name for this way of working.
As a consequence I am going to share a number of simple experiments that I have done in guntai shibori. In addition guntai shibori works best for small motifs and those are the kind of designs I have tried out here. All the pieces I have worked are on a square of fabric 20 x 17cm/ 8 x 6 ½” which gives you a sense of scale.
In each case the pattern needs to be drawn on the fabric with a soluble marker to give a good clear line to stitch along. Guntai shibori is stitched binding, the thread rolls around the fabric and distorts it as it is pulled up. In contrast to other shibori stitches you pull up the thread as you go along making the fabric go into folds and pleats leaving a delicate pattern of lines and white where the dye is completely resisted.
1. Five Petalled Flower
This little flower shows what can be achieved simply by using guntai shibori. The pattern you can clearly see drawn on to the fabric. Each petal is sewn separately and tightened off at the end.
2. Echinacea Flower
This design uses guntai shibori to make the petals but also miru and ori nui shibori to make the flower centre and stem respectively.
3. Seed Pods
Here I have used a combination of guntai shibori and ori nui, simple running stitch through one fold of fabric for the stems. I think guntai shibori is brilliant at creating these very organic plant inspired shapes.
This attractive snowdrop pattern is made using a few different stitches. But as you can see from the series of photos the petals and the snowdrop leaf are made from guntai shibori with maki-age and ori nui shibori to create other parts of the design.
Over To You
All these designs have been dyed with indigo. I have found this the most successful dye to use with the guntai technique. Fibre reactive dyes are not so successful. Perhaps you will try this technique. It would be lovely to see what you get up to and manage to achieve.
On the other hand my friend Patsy has followed my designs and made these lovely pieces, using Rit dyes. Therefore, it appears guntai shibori works just as well with Rit!