Waterfall scarf

Not long ago, I was asked to commission a special scarf. A nice man, wanted to give a surprise present for his indigo loving wife, so I accepted the challenge straight away. Partly because it is such a nice gesture to have with the one you love, partly because I’m flattered he chose me to do it and because this is the kind of present that I would LOVE to be given myself. I just couldn’t refuse.

Hokusai, yoro_waterfall_in_mino_province

HOKUSAI Katsushika, 1832-1833, 美濃国養老の滝 (The Yoro Waterfall in Mino Province)

I decided to make and interpretation of Nui-Yoro Shibori (a hand-stitched technique to create thin blue stripes) in a pure white piece of linen. The name Yoro, refers to Yōrō waterfall (養老の滝) in Gifu, Japan. And this is because the blue lines that result after dyeing are soft, irregular and sometimes seem to fade away and then reappear; just like a waterfall (a real beauty).

shibori scarf tezukuri 03

shibori scarf tezukuri 02

This technique has to be made the traditional way; there is no cheating or shortcut that would do the trick. Therefore I went all for it because I think is absolutely worth it in a nice piece of linen. It took me days just to prep the fabric for dyeing, but it felt good to set my mind away from other things (mostly an overdue baby and all things baby related!)

shibori scarf tezukuri 04

shibori scarf tezukuri 05

My waterfall scarf, as I like to call it, builds it’s indigo blue as it comes down from the middle. I very much hope that the lady who will own it will like it, and wear it for a long time. Linen only gets nicer with age. And hopefully her husband gets a few extra brownie points too, for making it all happen for her!

shibori scarf tezukuri 06

shibori scarf tezukuri 08


shibori scarf tezukuri 09

We are having such a nice summer in England, that this mostly white rather than blue scarf seemed the perfect one to make. Nevertheless, appropriate for other seasons too, it is wide enough to use over the shoulders like a shawl, and warm enough to just wrap around the neck to keep warm. A real treat to make!


19 responses to “Waterfall scarf

  1. Did you stitch though all folds at regular levels, and what did you use for the side resist? It looks like two pieces of sisal rope, is that correct?

  2. I’m a total novice working with dyes etc…and have just developed a bit of an obsession with shibori.

    I understand the resist technique in this piece, but I don’t understand whether it has be totally immersed or just the edges painted.


    I’m being very sensible and want to do a piece like this for a dress!

    Any tips or pointers would be very much appreciated.


    Helen Worland

    • Hi Helen,
      How wonderful you discovered shibori and want to experiment.
      This piece was immersed completely, a key thing to bare in mind is that indigo is not a pigment but a dye and it only works as a dip dye. The true bond between indigo and the fiber only happens when in contact with oxigen after being immersed – the indigo vat has been ‘reduced’ this means there is no oxigen in the mix. This is why fabric comes out of the vat green or yellowy-green and after a few seconds in the air it starts transforming into blue.
      You can always try out shibori with other dyes, it really depends on what you like.
      I hope I’m being helpful and good luck with your dress!!

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