Did I mention that it’s hot here? Horribly hot. Hot enough to fry eggs on the sidewalk, so, I decided to dye silk on the sidewalk. Or at least to dye it in some of my long pans outside on the front porch.
Armed with a little plastic tub and some dyes in squirt top bottles (Procion H for silk), along with brushes and gloves, I went to work.
I uniformly scrunched the silk — sort of a lazy man’s version of even pleating — and put it into the tray. The first dye bath was blues and purples. Actually, I need to back up and tell you that after soaking the silk in vinegar, I put it into a very pale blue dye bath, and put down that first layer evenly over the silk in an extra large pot. So outdoors was the first varigated layer. I did the first side and then gently lifted the silk and turned it over, maintaining the "scrunch" and repeated the colors on the back side.
I let this heat up and then covered it in plastic, followed by aluminum foil, which quickly caused the temperature to soar. I let it sit for close to 24 hours.
This was followed with a second layer of color, which will hopefully produce highlights.
This second bath will sit, again covered, for another 24 to 48 hours, or as long as I can stand it because I’m dying to see the results. After rinsing, the silk is reconditioned (sort of like conditioning your hair) and voila, hopefully, beautiful hand-dyed silk.
If you’re interested in seeing more detail about this method, I have a full tutorial on Paula Burch’s fabulous dyeing website. There is a link in the upper right hand corner of this page.
As if all that fabulous silk wasn’t reward enough, the children were playing outside in our very parched yard while I was working. I was finishing up when I heard Ellie say "a butterfly!" It was an amazing butterfly, only the second one we’ve seen this week. Isn’t it beautiful?