INTRODUCTION TO PAPER YARN
Washi paper is cut into long, narrow ribbon-like strips which are twisted on a spinning wheel, then woven like silk or cotton, traditionally on a handloom. For the warp and the weft of this paper fabric, there are cases in which silk or cotton is used for the warp but when woven there is little difference from ordinary cloth.
Washi is the Japanese word for the traditional papers made from the long inner fibres of three plants, wa meaning Japanese and shi meaning paper. As Japan rushes with the rest of the world into the 21st Century, and more modern technologies take over, machines produce similar-looking papers which have qualities very different from authentic washi. As of the fall of 1994, there still remain roughly 350 families still engaged in the production of paper by hand. Shifu is the term for clothing woven with washi yarns.