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Posts Tagged ‘dye’

It just won’t work! The acid-dyed satin is as ripply as the Procion/soda ash stuff! It seems that the soaking itself breaks something down in the weave. The cloth even seems almost stretchy. And no matter how much and how hot I iron it, I can’t make it smooth and shiny again!

I guess it’s time to write to the companies. Is there something funny about this satin I bought? Is the synthrapol damaging the silk fiber as the soda ash seemed to? Or is it just any prolonged soaking that does this? If any of you have any experience dyeing silk satin and know why this is happening and how to avoid it, PLEASE TELL ME!

There is one more technique I could try: using Procion dyes but with vinegar instead of soda… in cold water. We’ll see. I think I’ll write to Dharma Trading and Silk Connection first. And wait for any wise words from any of you out there…

First response: Dharma thinks it’s something about how this fabric is woven… I think so too. Unfortunately, I still have a lot of it. Have to find a way to make it useful. Could try painting with the dye on stretched silk, then steaming. Seems like an awful lot of work… and still don’t know if it would work.

Here’s a pic:

Acid dyed silk satin, still puckered!

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Acid Dye suppliesToday, I used acid dyes to color a couple of pieces of silk satin for my thangkas. I don’t have a top-loading washing machine, so I had to go with the stove top method. And since I only have one pot big enough to allow the silk to swim freely, I did one color at a time. That’s okay; I managed to prepare and eat lunch at the same time, keeping all the chemicals separate from my food and my hands.

Heavy silk satin is the material I use most in my thangka work. I still have a lot of material that I bought in Varanasi years ago, when I still lived in India. But I’ve run out of my favorite colors, and especially of the sky and ground colors. I’ve tried ordering materials from India remotely, but have found I often don’t get quite what I ask for.

Here are some old photos from my silk-buying trips in Varanasi. The first is the street leading to my supplier’s showroom and the second is me and my friend Anie poring over the choices:

Varanasi streetBuying silk

Since this heavy satin is mostly used for bridal gowns in the West, the color choices are limited — white, off-white, ivory, cream, champagne, bone… Okay, you can find a few other colors — mostly the colors of bridesmaids‘ dresses — but still not enough for my purposes. And the material is extremely expensive! Plus, I like the idea of creating my own colors. SO I’ve been trying to dye some ready-for-dyeing silk satin I bought a few years ago from the Silk Connection.

I had previously tried using fiber reactive Procion dyes in cold water with soda ash. I have a German friend here in Italy who has produced wonderful results with these dyes on cotton. And I got some pretty colors on my silk samples too — though completely different from her cotton colors — but the surface of my satin changed. See the before and after photos below and click to get an enlarged view from my Flickr page:

White ready-to-dye satin Procion/soda ash dyed satin

I lost the smooth, tight finish and the consistent luster. Unsure whether it’s the soda ash or simply the result of soaking this fabric in water, I decided to try acid dyes which are more specifically suited to animal fibers such as silk and wool. (Procion dyes, though they can be used on silk, are better for plant fibers… or so I’ve read.)

SO today I used Jacquard Acid Dyes and white vinegar, along with a water softener (Milan water is VERY hard) and Synthrapol for pre- and post- rinsing. My work is drying now… The colors are gorgeous. I’m waiting with fingers crossed to see how the surface texture and sheen come out. Will let you know!

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