about kurume kasuri

The procedure of making Kurume-kasuri (textile)

“Threads are honest.”
“With little experience, we can’t interweave threads as we like – as if the threads looked down upon us.”
“The longer we interweave threads, the better they will adjust to our hands.”
Professional interweavers talk about threads as if they were alive.

Kurume-kasuri needs about 3 months, 30 steps, to be woven.
Most of the procedure is preparations before setting threads to looms.
We use a lot of devices in every step to keep vertical threads from being tangled or cut in the complicating procedure (We can use about 900 threads; the number varies depending upon the thickness of threads).

The procedure of Kurume-kasuri basically consists of four important steps: “Designing,” “Twining,” “Dyeing,” and “Weaving.”
These steps especially require matured technique in order to interweave threads in patterns.
The procedure is shared with some professionals; for example, one professional works to design, another to twine threads. There is a professional for each step.

Designing : a draft and plan for patterns
The design of patterns, woven out of vertical and horizontal threads crossed together through the loom, is born by professionals who know the feature of Kurume-kasuri well. They think of the possible patterns made on a fabric with the technique to weave kasuri. Then, they calculate the number of threads required for a fabric, considering the stretch of threads, and write the number down on the draft. Also, they calculate the ratio of “kasuri threads” (twined threads, composing of patterns) and non-twined threads.

Twining : a technique to interweave “kasuri threads”
The professionals twine threads so that patterns of Kurume-kasuri are protected from dye. This procedure finally influences on a textile woven out of the twined threads, so they cannot be too careful of twining.
In twining, professionals of twining take part in the procedure. The strength is significant to twine threads. If kasuri threads are twined tightly enough, we can see the edge of a pattern clearly between one and another. On the other hand, when the threads are not twined well, the coloring spread to the patterns so that the patterns of the kasuri will become ambiguous.

Dyeing : indigo coloring and chemical coloring
Indigo coloring requires a lot of tasks to take care of indigo, and the technique to dye is very difficult. Thus, there are few factories to dye threads with indigo coloring. Chemical coloring, on the other hand, is used at large factories, and we can dye a lot of threads at once. Also, there are many types of coloring from chemical coloring, so we can increase the variation of patterns.

Weaving : interweaving threads into a fabric
Twining threads, dyeing them, we set the threads on a loom according with a draft to weave a pattern. Then, we weave a fabric carefully in order not to break the pattern or cut the threads in the loom.
The threads, condensing the techniques of these professionals, interwoven together, will be made of a fabric to clothe us wholly.