Shibori needle-and-stand

October 5, 2009


Thinking about traditional needle-and-stand shibori equipment caused me to check photos of my tourist-textile attempt at Kyoto’s Shibori Centre ( with a reservation made in person a day or two before. Of course, any Westener will baulk at sitting cross-legged in front of the stand – ones legs/knees on the floor-board securing the vertical pole.  I found the concentration required to  wind (all of the needle-stitching was done beforehand) made me completely forget about my legs, but of course sitting cross-legged is endemic to all the traditional arts – shibori, kumihimo, umbrella- and doll-making. The Arimatsu-Narumi Shibori DVD (Studio Galli Production with English narration by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada) shows the traditional stand in action, as well as the bamboo version with the split fork at the top for holding fabric while being stitched with a hand-held needle.

The thread holding the shibori needle is obviously stuck to the vertical pole with no great sophistication in this instance, and their website shows alternative metal bracket methods. I notice that Maiwa (Canada) sells the Japanese hobby craft shibori needle, with a clamp secured to  a tabletop. Karren Brito in her book mentions the traditional method involving the bent-tipped needle being attached to a thin metal tube with beeswax, and this too is shown in the Arimatsu DVD. Certainly having both hands free to work the cloth and thread is a distinct advantage, especially when doing small makiage or kumo spider-webs. The traditional metal “third-hand” tool which look a cross between scissors and a clamp, may be of use in more free-form shibori-tying done in the lap.

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