Thursday, June 3, 2010

SHIFU from paper to thread

The Majacraft Aura is purring! Yesterday (and later today) I spent time making shifu on it. Shifu is thread spun from japanese kozo paper. I have wanted to do this for a long time. Both the Aura, and its magnificently controllable tension, and the time provided by a sabbatical, came together to make it possible. It is a bit hard on the hands because there is a lot of finger manipulation necessary...but so much easier on the new wheel. I want to get a pretty full bobbin before I go to "knitting camp" in a couple of weeks. I will be taking a one week intensive course from Adrienne Sloane called Knitting and the Political Landsape. At this moment, I plan to focus on masks and performative objects. Shifu knis and crochets up with magnificent it should be good. Stay tuned;-)


  1. There has been some interest in what you are doing here:

    If you are not already familiar with it is a free resource site for fiber enthusiasts (started for knitters) that you can register to be a member of. Over a million people -worldwide- belong and it's growing. NAAY just a happy member and user.

    Am I correct in thinking you are cutting the kozo (and it is a "rice" paper) paper into strips to spin it? Is this any type of kozo paper or a specific type.

    Discussions of spinning paper (mostly recycled newspaper) and knitting it pop up on Ravelry from time to time and I have had an interest in it. There have been some amazing things knitted out of paper, namely paper dresses as well as art pieces. I saw an amazing display of tiny knitted art pieces, from paper, at a juried festival in Denver 2 years ago. I wasn't allowed to take any pictures of it but loved the work.

    I'm currently thinking about weaving with it -- I've just acquired a Rigid Heddle Loom.

  2. I'm really curious. Did you cut the kozo (rice) paper into strips and use it dry, in order to spin it?

  3. Yes, I cut the paper dry,into strips, spun it and then rubbed beeswax on it.

  4. Eliza- Sorry it took so long to reply to your comments. I thought I had set alerts to tell me I had comments! Oops! I use sekeishu paper, cut in a zig zag, mostly, except for when my knife slips! You want a strong but flexible paper. Sekeishu is quite strong, often used in conservation for repairs of books or in museum framing from hinges. If it rips easily, it is not a good choice. There should be some resistance to the ripping. Flax paper is good for this as well.

  5. shifu is amazing! i must try the sekeishu paper.