Tuesday, June 19, 2007
How I Dye Silk Roving
As promised, here is how I dye silk roving. First let me say that what I have learned comes from trial and error (lots of error) and tons of reading on how of other people have done it and the problems that they encountered. The main thing to remember as you go along is that the fewer times you handle the silk the better off you and the silk will be. Using this method I don't handle the silk at all until it is completely done.
The first thing that I do is partially fill up the glass jar that I am going to use. I use room temperature water because I don't want the silk to felt. I then add the silk and let it sit and slowly absorb the water. I usually leave it sitting overnight but you could start it first thing in the morning. It can take an hour, more or less, for an ounce of silk which is what I used. That is just a pickle jar by the way, I like to recycle whenever possible. You will be okay as long as it is glass.
This is how it will look once the silk has absorbed the water. I usually add about 1/4 cup of vinegar at this point and let it sit for awhile longer. You can also add the vinegar at the beginning if you want; I didn't see any difference in the way the silk came out adding it before hand.
Next we add the dye. I used Wilton's cake dye for this project.
I dissolved the dye in warm water to make it easier to add. Just make sure that you leave enough head room for the additional water.
This is what is looks like after you add the dye. My jar was pretty full as you can see.
Next the jar goes into the big kettle. I use a thermometer to make sure that the water doesn't go over 160 degrees. I will add here that the color that I used for this project wasn't really the best because the water didn't get hot enough to dispel all the dye, I rinsed and rinsed and still had this nice copper colored water.
Once the desired temperature has been reached I turn off the heat, cover it up, and let it sit for awhile. Once the water is clear (or you can't wait any longer) remove it from the water and let it set someplace out of a breeze to cool. Cool breeze on hot glass equals broken jar. Once it has cooled to room temperature dump the whole thing into a strainer. I have one that I use only for my roving. I also have a microwave safe dish that the strainer fits into.
Once the water has drained I fill up the microwave dish with room temperature water. I then set the roving down into this water and gently rinse it. Do this as many times as needed until the water runs clear. Let the roving drain for awhile. To get excess water out before drying I wrap the roving in an old bath towel. I just dump the roving right out of the strainer onto the towel. I gently separate it at this point and then roll up the towel. I leave it sitting for a half or so and then hang it out to dry.
The finished product!