Sunday, 1 March 2015

Mawata silk hankie dyeing

I have been busy dyeing silk hankies, and getting ready for Fibres West in Cloverdale, BC, March 13-15. I thought I would show you my process.

First I separate the hankies into about 10 gram parcels, which conveniently is the way the supplier has them stacked. I fluff up the edges, as I have found if I don't, the dye won't penetrate fully.

I fold them in quarters, and stack them about 12 at a time in my plastic bin. The bin has water as hot as I can get it out of the tap, with a capful of Synthrapol or a couple of squirts of dish washing liquid, and 4 tablespoons of citric acid. I leave them to soak overnight.

The next day, I squeeze out the excess water, open up the folded hankie, and start dyeing. I have a 9x12 glass cake pan that I line with plastic wrap, and place the hankie on top. My dye is mixed - 2 cups of water, 1/4 tsp dye powder and 1 tblsp citric acid. Using a condiment squirt bottle (like the dollar store ones for mustard and ketchup), I randomly place the colours according to the whim of the moment.

The package is then rolled up like a jelly roll, squeezing out the excess water as I go, and they are placed in my canner to steam for 15 minutes. 

After steaming, and after they are cooled, I unwrap them and soak them in warm water, again with a bit of Synthrapol, to get rid of any excess dye that might not have been exhausted.

After drying, they are packaged and ready to go!