Don’t you just love it when a ‘box of happy’ is delivered to your door? I got mine a few days ago from Louet!
I received a half pound of Merino Silk 80/20 Top fibre in Natural and the same again in Black; you can clearly see the silk running through the black Merino so you know it is soft, soft, soft! I also received a half pound of Tussah Silk Top which started calling to me right away!
Tucked into the box were four Gaywool dyes and the full range of dye sample cards, now I have everything I need to add some pizzaz to the silk! Although Gaywool dyes were developed specifically for wool, they work on any protein fibre ~ like mohair, silk and alpaca.
I measured four ounces of Tussah Silk top from the bag. My first task is to get it saturated with water so I coiled the silk into a plastic tub to keep the silk fibres aligned and to make it easy to find the end.
There are yards and yards of silk so I needed to make a double layer, I used my laundry mesh bag between the layers just to keep it all from clumping together.
Because the silk wants to float, it needs to be weighed down and I used a couple of plastic containers filled with water to keep the silk under the water.
I left the silk overnight to make sure it was really saturated and the next day I squeezed out all of the excess water. I moved everything out to the garage and donning gloves I made up a solution of 4 cups of water with 1.4 ounces of urea and 3/4 cup of white vinegar and slipped the silk into the bowl. I left it soak while I got my dyeing area set up in the garage.
I used this very light weight plastic sheeting to cover my work area. I use a half sheet of plywood on sawhorses and it is a perfect height for me!
After about a 20 minute soak I squeezed out the silk (wearing gloves) and I laid it on the plastic in long ribbons. I spent the time to flatten it out a bit to get as much surface area exposed as I could.
I measured out about 2 teaspoons of Cyclamen Gaywool dye and the same amount of Citrus into separate plastic cups. (You see the prototype of the warping mill my husband is making me in the background on his workbench, but that's another story!)
Now I am ready to dye ~ really ~ that joke never gets old! I sprinkled the dye in small alternating bands directly onto the still moist silk. I purposely left some areas without dye so that I can get some colour blending and natural sections.
I used a little squeeze bottle with some of the urea, vinegar and water mixture from the soak to wet the dyes enough so that I could work the colour into the silk with my fingers.
I then turned the silk over and repeated the whole process on the other side.
Because I’m using a variation on the Rainbow dyeing method, all I have to do is to fold the plastic sheet from the table over the silk to encase it.
And roll it up! Jobs a goodun’!
Just to be on the safe side I’ve put the silk roll into a plastic bowl to age for the next 24 hours. I can't wait to see what it looks like tomorrow!