Silk Scarf Dyeing

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Here’s a quick tutorial I put together on my recently learned method of dyeing silk chiffon scarves. –

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Start by unwrapping the scarves. Mine came in these little plastic bags. (I got them from Dharma Trading Company. Nice stuff, good prices.)

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Next, fill up a large pot with water. This is to wash it in Synthrapol (or the cheaper knock-off brand I was using), so give it plenty of room to swish around in the water. The chemical bottle suggested doing this in the washing machine, but I didn’t want to toss just two scarves in there by themselves.
Add the synthrapol (or cheap knock off) into the water, using your own common sense and the recipe on the bottle, if all else fails.

Then, lower the lovely soft swishy stuff into the water. Put on gloves and swish the swishy stuff in the wet stuff. I may be notorious for not following the exact directions, but I do wear gloves when possible. I’m attached to my hands, and I’d like them to last for several more years.

Next, fish out the scarves and rinse them silly. (Nicely, of course.) I put them in a clean colander and gave them the works. Then I put them in another, smaller pot of water to sit and soak until the next morning.

At that point I am afraid I stopped taking pictures. I will be remedying this in the near future.

For one scarf, I wrapped it around an empty glass bottle and poured dyes directly onto it. (Following this video tutorial here. And it’s a nice one.) I then set the bottle-wrapped-in-a-scarf into a large pot of water. I kept the bottle standing upright so the scarf wouldn’t get too hot against the bottom of the pot. If you’re doing this, put some water into the inside o the bottle too, or it’ll float.

I then simmered it with some vinegar until the water around the scarf was pretty clear. (No dye left swimming about.) Then I pulled it out, gave it a minute to cool off, and unwrapped it. A quick rinse in luke warm / coolish water, a hang up to dry, and I got the gorgeous watercolor-y scarf you see at the top of this post.

Now, for the second scarf, I used a different technique that is very similar to tie-dyeing. I crumpled the scarf up, then tied it very tightly in five places using a cotton thread. The whole kaboodle went for a swim in a pot full of deep burgundy-cranberry dye and some vinegar. I stirred it every so often, and let it simmer until the dye was almost all gone, and the scarf was a nice deep tone.

Out it came, another rinse, the ties came off, and here we have it!

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The beauty of dyeing the chiffon scarves is that they dry really quickly. It was no more than a few hours before they were wearable. I’m going to be experimenting more with this over the next couple of weeks. (I’ve got eight more scarves to play with, yay!) And some of the scarves are of different weights and types. So between that and all the different methods I want to try, prepare for a scarf-filled December! Now to find a ton of people who want silk scarves for a New Year’s present. . .

One Response to Silk Scarf Dyeing
  1. Rebekah
    December 23, 2011 | 11:14 pm

    And here’s a later post exploring another silk scarf dyeing technique – http://maidenyarn.com/2011/12/another-scarf/

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