Monday, February 06, 2006

More Dyeing Adventures

There's a baby boom at work this spring. You would think that no rocket science is getting done around here. I spent a couple of hours dyeing up a dozen items just prior to kickoff yesterday. I also dyed up a devore silk scarf using these instructions.

I made up a soda ash solution.
4 Tablespoons soda ash
1/2 Cup rock salt
Hot water to make up 1 gallon

I then made up solutions of 1 teaspoon Procion dye powder and 8 oz. of water. The trick is to mix a very small amount of water into the dye to make a paste. Stir until there are no lumps left, then add the rest of the water. Fuchsia is very strong and you can get by with less than a full teaspoon of dye powder. The blue dyes are weaker and you may want to use two teaspoons of dye powder. You can also use Glauber's salt to improve blue yield.

I washed the stuff to be dyed in synthrapol, a special detergent that does not have any additives that might interfere with dyeing. It is also very effective at keeping dye chemicals suspended in water so that they do not back dye the items (more on that later). I swirled, rolled or pleated the damp onesies and held them together with rubber bands.

I poured 2 cups of the soda ash solution into 3 1 gallon ziploc bags and poured some turquoise, midnight blue or sapphire blue dye solution into them. I used a foam brush to "paint" some yellow or fuchsia on some of the onesies and threw them in the baggies. I put two onesies into each bag. The colors blended into green and purple in some sections and stayed distinct in others.

I put the baggies outside on the south-facing flagstone patio for 4 hours. Heat helps the dye take. Then, I squeezed out the dye solution, rinsed in cool water in the kitchen sink a bit, then wrung them out one last time. The items were all washed by machine with a little bit more synthrapol. If you don't use synthrapol, you run the risk that the leftover dye molecules will stain the undyed sections.

Here is the scarf sitting in the plastic shoe box in kitchen sink after the sapphire blue and turquoise dye were poured on.

After pouring in just enough soda ash to cover the scarf, I placed two layers of plastic wrap on top of the wet scarf and pushed down to make sure the dye penetrated all the way through the scarf. It went out on the flagstone patio also. Because I have never dyed silk or rayon with Procion before, I put the shoe box in the microwave for a minute before rinsing. I then threw the scarf in the washing machine with the rest of the stuff.

As you can see, the color came out fully saturated and beautiful. The fringe came out a knotted mess. I should have heeded the instructions. They said to wash the scarf by hand, being careful not to tangle the fringe. I did follow their example and poured one color on 2/3 of the scarf and the other color on the remaining 1/3. If you tried to do it in halves, then the fact that it isn't perfectly 50/50 will really bother the eye.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous13:45

    MAKE SURE you use the recommended precautions in mixing Procion dyes! This is not RIT! Procion dyes are supposed to be mixed either in a closed box where you can keep the very "flighty" dye from escaping and/or with a dust mask or respirator. They should not be mixed in the open!