Dyeing Duke Silk

Ok I have to state for the record that these are only my experiments at dyeing yarn. I'm no dyeing expert. In fact, this is the first time I've dyed yarn of any kind and I started with silk because I carry undyed duke silk in my store.

I borrowed a ton of books on dyeing from the local library. But the one that worked best for me was

This has some nice tips for dyeing silk and precautions to take before dyeing. But I'm not going into too many details there. I just covered the work surface with lots of newspapers and used a mask to make sure I didn't inhale the dye.

The supplies I used. 
  • Stainless steel utensil to soak fibre in
  • Microwave safe bowl
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Rubber gloves
  • Silk Fibre
  • Water
  • White vinegar (regular cooking vinegar)
  • Food color that I bought from a nearby store. Picture below.

Soak: I soaked the yarn overnight in room temperature water. This is necessary for silk as it does not soak quickly. 
Mix Dyes: The next day I mixed the dye stock. I wanted a gradation of the same color. So I mixed the same dye with three different dilutions. In 3 separate cups I mixed 1/8 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon and 1/2 teaspoon of dye powder in tepid water to make a paste. Then added some boiling water to dissolve the paste and added tepid water to make around 1/2 a cup of each mixture.

While the dye stock cooled, I prepared the yarn for dyeing. 

Wash yarn: I added a few drops of gentle dish detergent to the soak and rinsed the yarn in it. This is to take off any sericin (a gum secreted by silk worms) left behind. And rinsed the yarn off again in clean water. 

Vinegar Soak: Prepare vinegar soak by mixing 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water. Soak the washed and rinsed yarn in the vinegar soak for only 10 mins. Very important for silk so as to not ruin the lustre. After 10 mns, squeeze water out gently and then place in a colander or screen till damp to the touch.

Hand paint: Arrange the yarn in a bowl and get ready to dye. Pour the lightest dyestock on one section of the yarn and work the color in with your fingers. Make sure you've worked all the way through the yarn. Add the medium dyestock to an adjacent section a few inches away and work it in with your finger so the colors in the two sections mix gradually. Then add the third dilution and work the same way.

Heat: I heated this in a covered bowl in a microwave in 3 short periods of 15s (because I had very little fibre 5gms) and then allowed to rest for 15s each time. Then after the  bowl cooled, I rinsed the fibre in water. But the color ran quite a bit. So quickly dipped in vinegar soak again and cooked for 1mn this time because I got bolder. Then another 45s. After the yarn cooled down I rinsed it a few times till the water ran clear. And there you have it my first hand painted duke silk yarn. Now I just got to figure out what I can make with 5gms of silk yarn :-).


Woo hoo! What d'ya think?

Today's recycled find and the March giveaway!

Here's today's recycled / upcycled find on Etsy! Plarn! Plastic Bags recycled into yarn. And this Etsian has converted her's into a market bag. Pretty handy I think. Here's a link to the Etsy listing.

And announcing the march giveaway now. To enter leave a meaningful, relevant comment on any blog post of mine, or on my facebook page, or reply to one or more of my tweets or retweet me. Critiquing comments welcome too, please be gentle though! Winner will be picked randomly via random.org on April 2nd 2012. What will you win? Hmm two skeins of multicolored Recycled Sari Silk Yarn from my store!

Tuesday Find and a new treasury

Here's what I spotted on Etsy today! More recycled or rather upcycled stuff. This is a chaise lounge made from up-cycled stuffed toys. The creativity and oh the cuteness! Looks real comfy too! Here's the link to the item.

And here's my treasury. 130 views on my treasury for the first time! I've gone as far as 87 views on one treasury. Crossed 100 for the first time though. Funnily enough my shop views are lesser than average. Hmm! What do you think of my treasury? 

And hey a new giveaway to be announced soon! Still figuring out the details.

'Mauve it!' by amberthreads

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8mm Wine Color Glass Pe...

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vintage metal drawer bo...

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Tuesday Find and Recycled t-shirts!

I recycled a bunch of t-shirts last weekend into yarn and wondered if people bought and sold these as well. And here's what I found on Etsy today! T-Shirt yarn! Who knew right? Here're the details.

Here're pictures of the t-shirt yarn I made over the weekend. Nowhere near as beautiful as Sarah's (the store owner of the yarn above). Here's a step by step tute on how to make your own t-shirt yarn.

The basic idea is to cut your t-shirt into one long strip starting at one end, going spirally. That seems complicated right? Here's an easy way to do that.

First cut off the sleeves and the top portion. Still have to figure out what to do with that portion. You could cut that into strips too and join it while creating your rug.

Then fold the t-shirt length wise with an inch or so of the lower fold visible. I've also cut off the bottom hem line. You could keep it if you like.

Cut 1 inch strips starting from the right to the left all the way to the end of the top half, leaving the 1 inch of the lower fold uncut.  

Open out the t-shirt so you have strips to the top and the bottom with the 1inch that you left uncut in between. 

Now to get the spirally cut effect, cut like so. Cut from the right side of each strip at the bottom to the right side of the next strip at the top (that's important) until you finish with all the strips and there you have it one long strip of t-shirt.  

That looks like this.

Now hold a short length between both your hands with your thumbs in the center of the strip and stretch for the strip to roll up like this. That's it. 

Wind it into a ball or a skein and it's ready to knit, crochet or whatever you want.

Now tell me what would you make with this yarn other than a rug? A pot holder maybe?