Lately I’ve been testing new waters and, while not getting quite the outcomes in mind, having fun. A tendency to avoid a great deal of pre-study and reading on a new interest, instead plunging in almost directly means I get to explore without a lot of rules. True there’s lots of trial and error which can energize my brain.
I love wrapping a Turkish spindle in a silk hankie to send to the person purchasing the spindle. Every spinner should spin silk at least once in their spinning life. It didn’t take long to go through several packages of hankies paying full retail price, and while I did swap with a person who sent some beautiful silk, she’s in nursing school and has a busy life. It was time to try dyeing silk hankies to cut down on the cost.
Koolaid was my choice: convenient and non-toxic. The first go around I split the 8 ounce pack in two. I’d read of people laying roving on plastic wrap, squirting it with the dyes, rolling it up and microwaving it. That’s what I did. Mixing a packet of Grape Koolaid with about 1/2 c of water and a glog of vinegar in one jar, a packet of Black Cherry in another, Lemon-Lime, Strawberry… there was soon a regiment of Koolaid filled jars parading across the counter. Syringes were employed to anoint the silk with dye which promptly ran off the silk, off the plastic wrap, spilled over the counter and made a mess.
Plan Two: Put the 4 ounces, laying on the plastic wrap, into a glass baking dish to contain the dyes. Syringes worked for getting the dye on the top layer but soon my fingers were stained from trying to gently coax the Koolaid through the layers. At last the hankies are rolled and put into the microwave for a minute of cooking followed by a minute of cooling. And more minutes of cooking and cooling until the dye was exhausted (no color left floating in the dish). So was the wrap. Fried. Sort of melted onto the silk. A rinsing in warm water didn’t get the plastic off the silk and the first couple of ruined silk hankies were unavoidedly removed with the plastic.
Plan Three: While the first 4 ounces were going through cycles of cooking and cooling it seemed wise to try soaking the other 4 ounces in water with a splash of vinegar so the fibers would more readily absord the Koolaid. A 20 minute soak seemed reasonable. Carefully squeezing out the water I then laid the batch flat in another glass dish. The soaked silk took the Koolaid much better. Blotting up the excess dye with paper towels the hankies were loosely rolled up in the dish and set in the oven was set at 180 degrees. No plastic wrap or microwave. The silk absorbed heat and dye for around 30 minutes followed by rinsing then laying the stack on a towel to dry.
I was tickled red by how the second batch turned out. I have tons to learn yet but that’s part of the fun. Experimenting with colors and concentrations. This is the year for learning about colors.