Preserving local technique and nature's gifts

Ishige Yuki-Tsumugi is another form of Yuki-Tsumugi, a traditional Japanese fabric with a history of over 1000 years,
which originated 60 years ago. Along the Kinu River in Shimousa Province, there has been a long history of sericulture and weaving.
Yuki-Tsumugi is renowned for its exceptional comfort provided by the floss silk it's made from, a feature that originates here.
In contrast to the traditional and strictly disciplined manufacturing of authentic Yuki-Tsumugi,
Ishige Yuki-Tsumugi was created with the aim to make the comfort of floss silk more accessible,
combining various techniques to form a new type of Yuki-Tsumugi.



The thread is spun by hand using power from floss silk made by boiling and stretching waste cocoons into sheets.
For warp threads, they are further reinforced by twisting with finer raw silk.


Starching to Drying

To make the floss silk thread more manageable and delicate, starching is applied.
The threads wound on a frame and bundled into a ring, known as Kase(綛), are starched in this state.

Afterward, to remove excess starch, the threads are beaten.

To prevent starched threads from sticking together, they are finely separated using the thumbs and spread evenly.
This is known as 'thread handling'. Once handled, the threads are left to dry thoroughly in the sun, allowing the starch to penetrate to the core.


Ink Marking

Based on the design, the necessary number of warp and weft threads are separated for the Kasuri pattern.
Each weaving house has its method, but the process involves hanging bundles of threads
and marking them with a bamboo spatula dipped in ink against measurements taken from the design or seed threads.


Ikat Tying

In Ishige Yuki-Tsumugi, there is a technique of Stencil Dyeing where a stencil is placed on the warp threads stretched on a frame,
and dye is applied through the stencil, moving a wooden spatula up and down.

After dyeing with one stencil, it is moved sideways using a mark on the edge as a reference and repeated to dye the threads.
The more colors in a design, the more stencils used, and the more layers of color, requiring high precision in overlapping the dyes.


Stencil Dyeing

This process involves placing a stencil on warp threads stretched on a frame and dripping dye onto the stencil,
then moving a wooden spatula up and down to apply the dye.

After one stencil is dyed, it's moved sideways based on a mark on the edge and repeated to dye the threads.
More complex designs with more colors require more stencils and layers, necessitating high skill to apply the dyes without error.



The looms used to create Ishige Yuki Tsumugi are semi-automatic shuttle looms,
and each machine is meticulously operated by an individual weaver.

They carefully check the design to ensure the correct positioning and count of the ikat patterns,
weaving while constantly monitoring the spacing between each ikat section.

The process requires keen eyesight and adept hands,
as both are vital for aligning the ikat threads perfectly during weaving.

For that, skills honed over many years are required.