The history of weaving in the Shiozawa area is very long and an example of a linen cloth--now Echigo linen--woven during the Nara period (710-794) is preserved in the Shosoin Repository in Nara. The skills and techniques used to weave this linen cloth were adopted for the weaving of a silk cloth that became Shiozawa Tsumugi and was first woven during the Edo period (1600-1868).
This cloth is characterized by a very particular sense of quality and refinement derived from its ikat patterns which are composed of fine crosses called kagasuri--"mosquito ikat"--and a kikkogasuri of box-like pattern, both achieved by tying bundles of thread and rubbing in the dyestuff before weaving. The cloth is used exclusively for kimono.
The unique, refined elegance of Shiozawa tsumugi is produced by its techniques of Kagasuri (mosquito ikat) - weaving in a Juji-kasuri (fine cross ikat), and Kikko-kasuri (turtle shell ikat) - weaving a fine hexagonal pattern, combined with the ikat resist dyeing process used for the individual threads before they are woven.
How to make
Shiozawa tsumugi is a plain weaved product made of pre-dyed threads. Raw dupion silk threads are used for the warp, and hand-spun silk threads made from silk floss are used for the weft. The process is mainly divided into making the design, applying a base dye to the individual threads, ikat dyeing the individual threads again to create the pattern, weaving and finally finishing. During the weaving stage, each thread is woven one by one to ensure the final pattern of the design is produced correctly.