The jōfu weaving process
A raw material is a ramie that made in Fukushima―Showa village.
Also known as China Grass or Rhea. A stingless nettle, this perennial grows up to one to two meters in height and has 2 cm long cells. Its white fibers are long and lustrous, and are extracted by retting and then scraping off the outer bark. Ramie is easy to work with and can be split very fine to produce light, elegant cloth, jōfu.
Splicing long strands of ramie fiber together.
This retains their luster and allows for the production of extremely thin threads to make very fine cloth.The connecting splice joining the base of new strand of fiber to the tip of an old strand.My splicing method is two-element ply-joining. I have learned its way in Okinawa (Tarama Island).
By the way, bast fibers have a direction and are best handled in accordance with their direction.This contrasts with short cotton fibers and silk,which handle equally smoothly in both directions.I always work in accordance with the direction in all of the jōfu weaving process.
Adding twist with the use of hand spinning wheel (itoguruma).This tool consists of a wheel, constructed of bamboo slats,set on a base next to a long pointed spindle with a whorl close to one end. A string runs around both the wheel and the groove in the spindle whorl. Rotating the wheel with the right hand causes the spindle to twirl.In japan such itoguruma are used to spin,to add twist to ply-jointed thread,to ply two threads together,and to wind bobbins,the quill being slipped over the spindle rod.The twist number of my thread is about 500 twists per meter.
Starching. Treating threads with paste to strengthen them and hold down frays. It is done after adding twist. The paste is made by mixing Endocladiaceae(seaweed) and rice paste and flour and potato starch and camellia oil. The method is pulling up the yarn through the paste, and winding on thread to form skeins.Length of the thread required is 40 kilometers.
Warping. It is measuring the length of the warp threads with the use of warping frame.
The warping frame consists of a set of pegs placed in a base.The threads to be measured for warp are passed in a regular order from peg to peg in a repeated pattern.The warp measured by going around in a circuit.Circuit warping keeps all the threads going in the same direction.
I was warping 1264 threads to the length of 16-meter.
To draw the threads through the dents in the reed.
The reed is made of bamboo slats frame. It through which the warp threads are passed,which is used to space the warp threads.
The measured warp is wound onto the beam at the back of the loom.
Generally on a backstrap loom,the warp beam is synonymous with the back beam,placed at the far end of the loom. The warp is wound onto the warp beam by slowly rotating it and placing paper between the layers of threads.
Making string heddles. The string looped under select warps and used to lift them in a shed.
On backstrap looms the main shed is held open by a shed structure, while the counter shed is lifted by strings looped to the heddle sticks.
Weaving of using the backstrap loom(jibata). The weaving end of the warp is anchored to the weaver’s waist or hips, but the loom itself has a rigid structure. The warp beam rests at the back of the frame, the warps pass over a frame shed structure. The string heddles are connected by a series of levers to foot manipulated pulley.
In order to remove the starch of the cloth,method is cleansing the cloth into simmering water.
Methods of whitening the cloth include setting them outdoors over a period of time.
The cloth is laid out and wetted with lye liquid, the moisture between the fiber evaporate. This evaporation creates ozones, and the chemical reaction, repeated over a period of days, bleaches the cloth.
Reference document: Nagano,G. and Hiroi,N.1999．Base to Tip: Bast-Fiber Weaving in Japan and Its Neighboring Countries .Kyoto: SHIKOSHA Publishing Co., Ltd.