Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dyeing Silk Scarves

I've been dyeing silk scarf blanks for the last week or so getting ready for the Southern Highland Craft Guild Fair in July. The fair is held twice a year - the third weekend of July and October at the Asheville Civic Center downtown Asheville, NC.  It's a wonderful event we all look forward to.
When I work with silk, I use an acid dye which gives beautiful color and can only be used on silk.

The second step is to discharge color using a nature themed stamp. The discharged areas are overdyed and then stamped with a textile paint using the same shape as the discharged one. It's a 4 step process - what you're seeing is only the first step, and my favorite part - the dyeing. I love seeing white silk turn into such vibrant colors.

I usually do 3 colors on a scarf or sometimes 2 if the 2 colors melt into a pretty third color.
I work with several kinds of silk including China, charmeuse, crepe du Chine, chiffon and a blended scarf of wool and silk. Each take the color a little differently which makes the process more fun. For example, because China silk is so thin, there is a lot of wicking of color giving all kinds of lines and interesting movement. It's fun to see the dye move throughout the fibers.

Hope you can make the show.

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