Digging through boxes in the garage today I came aross a few more vintage boro blankets I’ve had stashed for nearly two years now. I blogged about our family’s favorite last January, but this one has not been in use as it has only one layer with no backing or batting.
The weave technique used to create the stripes is called zanshi ori, or fabric woven from surplus threads. Considering how valuable cotton was during the 19th century in rural Japan, it was treated with a great deal of respect and no part was wasted, however rough or worn it might be. This boro, or rag quilt, was created from a combination of remaindered thread and recycled fabric pieces of hand spun and dyed indigo cotton.
Here you can see some of the slubs and color contrasts in this piece. There is a significant amount of fading, which is to be expected. The back, however, retains much of its original color.
Notice the large stitches holding it all together. The thread is thick cotton in shades of blue or brown. Note how the selvedge is white, not indigo. This shows that the fabric was thread dyed, not dip dyed as a finished piece.
More to come! The above photos are from the bottom right corner of the piece in the first photo. If there is another area you’d like to see, let me know.