My latest fad, fabric-wise, is tenugui. I lovingly call them "sweat rags" but they are pieces of dyed cotton cloth that are used for anything from wiping, as a dish cloth, for wrapping gifts, a cover, a wall hanging or..... a sweat rag! They come in all sorts of amazing colours and there is a wonderful shop near me that has a wonderful collection. I have chosen earthy tones (not sure what I'm going to do with them yet) but there are all sorts of lovely colours.
First of all the cotton is bleached, then the fabric is folded into 90cm lengths, with paper patterns mounted on them. They are starched and put on top of each other. When the pattern has been applied, a mound is formed around each pattern to seperate the dyes. The dyes are poured onto the surface of the fabric and are sucked below with a compressor. This will let the dyes permeate the fabric and help produce the design so that both sides stay the same. The washed fabric is then dried in the sun and ready for someone like me to come along and buy a job lot!