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Rustic Himo or Rope from Twisted Recycled Cloth

Written on April 27, 2010

Today I am showing something wonderful and unusual: it is a length of himo or rope that has been made by twisting scraps of indigo dyed cloth and forming a long, blue cord.

Himo1This mess of blue cord, on the right, is the prize.  It is not often that you see rustic rope of this kind that is made from such luscious scraps: twisted in the jumble are pieces of indigo dyed tsumugi or hand spun silk and katazome dyed indigo cloth–among which are scraps of Edo komon, a kind of small figured cloth which was produced in the 19th century.Himo1b

Himo1cOne never knows the intented function of this kind of rope: it could have been used for everyday activities, or, maybe, it was used in the deep countryside for their local matsuri or shrine festivals.  In any case, coming across a rope that is so rich in various types of antique indigo cloth is a real find.Himo1dThe cloth used to create this rope seems to belong to the late nineteenth century.Himo1e

Himo1fThis lovely ball of himo, shown above and below, is more typical of the kind of rustic rope you find for the reason that the cotton that is twined to make the rope is both hand woven and machine made.  Most likely this ball dates to the mid twentieth century or thereabouts.Himo1g


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  1. Comment by Kaye:

    That’s fascinating, I’ve never seen rope made from fabric. I’m afraid I would want to unravel it all though and stitch the fabrics together…

    May 2, 2010 @ 1:18 pm