Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dyeing Silk with ProcionMX

The Ponderosa Spinners and Weavers Guild had a warp dyeing day in the guild room and Ngaire and I decided to go. We brought along our wet silk warps and prepared to dye! We had soaked our warps in 500 ml of white vinegar to 2 litres of water the night before, so we were ready to get colouring!

The first thing we did was to roll out inexpensive plastic wrap the length of our wet warp; we lay the warp on the wrap and poured the prepared Lanaset dye onto it. Naturally, I forgot my camera, but I've recreated a few of the steps at home. Then with hands encased in gloves we smooshed…..I don’t know any other way to explain the process of working the dye in with your fingertips, making sure the dye went all the way through the warp! When the whole warp was dyed, we rolled it up jelly roll fashion and then overwrapped again. Then with trepidation, I popped it in the microwave on full power for 1-1/2 minutes per 100 grams….then turned it over and repeated.

My warp weighed in at 199 grams, so 3 minutes per side – I couldn’t believe the high pitched shriek that came out of the microwave. I’m sure dogs for miles came running! I was sure it was going to explode, but it didn’t and out came my warp. Within moments it started to shrink wrap and cool. After it was cool enough to handle I unwrapped it and rinsed under cool water. Amazingly no excess dye came off! The warps we dyed with Lanaset are purple and orange for me, and raspberry and orange for Ngaire.

We came home and dyed the weft for these two warps and another warp and weft scarf each. I don’t have Lanaset dyes so I fell back onto my preferred dye Procion MX. I soaked the warps and wefts in soda ash for 30 minutes. Meanwhile I mixed up the Procion, 1 teaspoon Procion, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon urea to 1/2 cup of warm water. We then painted the dye on with sponge brushes.
Then wrapped the warps up in the plastic wrap, slipped into a baggie and left for 24 hours.

I honestly can’t tell the difference in the dye colour intensity, so for silk, both Lanaset and Procion seem to work well. We are both thrilled with our 4 silk scarf warps and matching silk singles wefts although the orange weft I dyed for my purple and orange warp (above) looked much better with Ngaire’s raspberry and orange warp ( on the loom already!) and her rust weft looked better with mine!This is Ngaire's, moss, plum and steel blue warp with the moss weft.My periwinkle, turquoise,royal blue and purple warp with the royal blue and periwinkle weft.

We had a bit of extra dye, and of course not ones to be wasteful we quickly dropped in a few hanks of 2/8 cotton and had a smoosh! Not too sure what they are for yet.Now we've added a lovely soft plum, turqouise and navy and steel blue cotton to the stash!
All in all it was a really successful dye session.


Marion B. said...

Those must become really lovely scarves.

Unknown said...

Thank you for this inspiring blog post!!!