The Nishiki Weaving Process

Before a Woven Piece is Completed

The figure or design on a Nishiki piece is achieved by beginning with a kind of blue print chart. This chart then dictates the colors of yarn to be dyed and the accurate order of stringing of the loom, so the combined warp and weft will match the originally conceived design. In the world of Nishiki weaving, where specialized tasks are performed by a combination of highly skilled and uniquely specialized craftsmen, the work much pass through the hands of more than 70 different craftsmen during the start to finish process that begins with yarn and ends in a finished work. The work can be roughly broken down as follows:

Zuan Sketch Design

Zuan Sketch Design
Whether the work will follow a designer’s newly created plan, the reproduction of a classic design or the work of a fine art painter, the first step is to create a rough sketch.

Mon design template
Based on design specifications, the necessary technical applications, the nature of the yarn and the color palette are determined. Then, while constantly referencing the Zuan Sketch Design of the piece to be created, specks of color are applied to a large piece of graph paper, box by box, thus indicating the color to be woven in each location. Since the final finished piece is completely determined by this process, this mon design, as it is called, is considered to be the most important part of the process.

Design Graph Paper
The number of warp and weft strands of yarn on the loom , based on the design specifications, determine the number of ruled lines in the graph paper . Each warp thread and weft thread , is matched up with the warp and weft lines of the grid.

Mon design template

 Jacquard Card  Perforation.

 Jacquard Card  Perforation.
This refers to the process of perforating holes in jacquard board, based on the mon design template. The jacquard then reads the information on the perforation-coded cards and translates the design to the loom by raising and lowering the warp yarn across the path of the shuttle.

 Silk Reeling
Silk thread is extracted from each cocoon, one strand at a time by hand. A number of strands are then combined together through twisting, in order to produce a raw silk thread. This process of twisting the appropriate number of strands of bundled raw silk is referred to as yarn twining.

 Silk Reeling

Yarn Dyeing

Yarn Dyeing
Process of yarn dyeing involves adjusting brightness, color saturation, density and hue, etc., according to the specifications of the project. The fabric designer creates a color scheme while
keeping in mind the warp and weft as well as the organization and cloth composition of the finished product .
Both commercial chemical-based dyes and natural vegetal dyes are used.

Scouring
Before dying, both sericin, a glue-like substance found on the surface of raw silk, and impurities, etc., are removed from the silk by emersion in a solution containing soap or enzymes, followed by kneading, in a process called scouring. This process brings out the silk’s inherent, beautiful, silver-white luster, and its soft visual-textural feeling. In some instances, raw silk may also be used, as is.

Yarn reeling (filature)
After dyeing, the yarn is in disarray and must be wound on reels to establish uniformity, to insure easy handling during the actual weaving process to follow. Winding is done separately by color. Then, based on the specifications of the fabric to be woven, the necessary length and number of threads of the warp are set by a warping machine. Then after the warp threads are wound on the warp, the weft strands are wound on spools.

Yarn reeling (filature)

Warper

Warper
Based on the specifications of the fabric to be woven, the length of the warp and the width (determined by the number of warp yarn threads) are arranged, the process where the yarn is prepared on thedevice referred to as a warper.

Jacquard Process
The information derived from holes punched inan endlessly cycling chain of jacquard cards or via data from a floppy disc is communicated to the warp controller, which then lifts and lowers the warp accordingly, allowing the weft-producing shuttle to move back and forth across the loom.

Jacquard Process

Warp Controller (Heald)

Warp Controller (Heald)
To accomplish the fabric weaving process, the warp must be lifted up and down. This is done by the warp controller, which translates the design into the actual motion of the weaving process. Guided by information from the jacquard, it is the device that raises and lowers the warp across the path of the shuttle, and can be thought of as the heart of the mechanical 織機loom.

Gold and Silver Leaf, Gold and Silver Thread and Patterned Gold Foil.
Traditionally, the use of metal leaf in weaving begins with bonding gold or silver leaf to washi (handmade paper made from mulberry or daphne ), superfinely slicing the paper into very narrow strips, then interweaving them with yarn on a loom.
Alternatively, the finely sliced gold leaf-bonded paper is wound around a core silk thread, creating a golden thread.Patterned leaf foil is made by burning a pattern into silver leaf, then applying a pigmented coating, such as lacquer, before applying a stencil pattern.

Gold and Silver Leaf, Gold and Silver Thread and Patterned Gold Foil.

Weaving

Weaving
In the weaving world, there exist both power looms and looms powered by human hands and foot. Power looms are efficient and reduce production costs, but even in this modern age, multi-colored complex and finely detailed weaving can only be done on a hand loom. Above all with hand looms, high functionality results in good visual-textual effect and thus an artistically superior woven fabric. Weavers respond to the needs of the cloth, can adjust the tensile strength of the warp yarn and weave while, at the same time, keep their eyes looking at the jacquard cards.

Types of tools

Shuttle

Shuttle
The shuttle is a tool made from oak wood, that is used on the loom to pass the weft thread back and forth between the rising and lowering warp to create the weft of the fabric.

Heddles

Heddles
During the weaving process, a heddles is attached to the shaft of the loom. The warp threads pass through the comb-like heddles, separating the warp threads and keeping them straight, preventing tangling and allowing the weft threads to pass between them easily.

Jacquard punch cards

Jacquard punch cards
These long and narrow cards, arranged on an endlessly cycling loop, are punched with holes that provide information for raising and lowering the warp in the weaving process.
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