Scarf requiring rescue…

Possibly a picture is worth a thousand words – but this one is lying.

Yes, you see a gleaming silk scarf with wonderful drape and soft hand. I’m pleased with the stripe sequence I used. My selvedges are improving. I’d do it all (or almost all) again. And yet… this post is something between a “help wanted” ad and a crime scene report…

WANTED: Ideas to save silk scarf.

Vital statistics: warp 20/2 silk. Weft 60/2 silk. Warp faced plain weave at 40 ends per inch. Finished width 24 cm.  Finished length including fringe 182 cm.

The problem: unsightly blotches.

The villain: Seen on the right hand side of this photo, taken after Linda Coffill’s workshop last summer.

The sob story: It could happen to anyone – a happy summer day with like-minded folk, a busy workshop atmosphere, a level of inattention to minor details such as how long that silk has actually been in the dye bath in fatal combination with an eagerness to see how it turned out.

A pleasant time weaving a scarf in stripes of pink/orange and (gulp!!) undyed white. We were so happy until (cue scarey music)… wet finishing. Then it all started to unravel – or more accurately, to run.

So it sat, for months. Christmas came and went – and this intended Christmas present sat, forlorn, ungifted.   A couple of weeks ago I finally decided Something Must Be Done – soaked it in acidic water and put it in the microwave in an attempt to set the remaining dye properly.

Whatever Something should have been done, that wasn’t it! I am feeling suitably chastened and foolish. I don’t think the scarf or I could take any more forlorn months so Something Else Must Be Done!!!

Current thought is some shibori clamping or stitching and an overdye. Introduce still more uneven colour, in an interesting organic contrast to the regular stripes (in a fibonacci variation). However all suggestions gratefully received and considered.

Finally, the victim:

brace yourself

5 Responses to “Scarf requiring rescue…”

  1. 1 Life Looms Large January 24, 2011 at 1:13 am

    I wish I knew more about dyeing to have ideas of my own. To me it doesn’t look that bad, but if it’s uneven along part of the scarf, but not the whole scarf, I can imagine it does look like a mistake.

    I like the idea of some kind of mottled overdye, but I don’t know how to do that.

    Or maybe there’s some surface design technique that could be applied to that area.

    If it happened to me, I’d phone the folks at ProChem and ask their advice. They understand dye and techniques and provide excellent phone support, even when I have weird questions. There might be a product to help remove the fugitive dye. Or a product to help set the dye, even this late in the game.

    Or if the dye is from some other maker, maybe they’d have ideas about it.

    It is a lovely scarf and I’m sorry that this unhappy-so-far creative accident has happened. But hopefully in the end it will turn into a happy creative accident!


    • 2 fibresofbeing January 27, 2011 at 10:17 pm

      Thanks Sue. Part of it is probably that old thing that the outcome isn’t what was in my head when I started. The Landscape dyes are made in Australia – I may give KraftKolour a call.

  2. 3 Louisa January 25, 2011 at 11:03 am

    You don’t say what type of dye you used there. But one thing that might work is to simmer very gently in clear water with about a teaspoon of Synthrapol for about 15 minutes, then rinse in fresh water to remove detergent residue and any unfixed dye. I’ve managed to rescue quite a few things this way where colour ran into places it doesn’t belong. Usually with Procion MX dyes on cotton though – not silk. But if you’re very gentle it can’t hurt.

    • 4 fibresofbeing January 27, 2011 at 10:14 pm

      Thanks for the suggestion. They were Landscape dyes. Made in Australia, I believe they are acid dyes and come already formulated with chemicals in the powder to allow simple dyeing of wool, but need a little extra vinegar for silk. At home I use Lanaset dyes – I feel more in control.
      I’ll give the simmer idea a go.

  1. 1 Huck colour update « Fibres of Being Trackback on January 27, 2011 at 10:44 pm

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