Yesterday was a really fun day at the guild room. We have been planning to do a group project, which was to learn how to dye silk scarf blanks by transferring dye from recycled silk neckties. We collected a bunch of neckties from various sources and ordered 11″ x 60″ silk charmeuse scarf blanks from Dharma Trading Co. A couple of women from the Seattle Weavers’ Guild came over to visit and lead us through the process (there are also some YouTube videos out there that are pretty good).
Basically you lay out a piece of muslin bigger than your scarf (a couple of inches on each side), then lay the washed and ironed scarf on it, right side up. It takes about 3 neckties worth to cover one end of the scarf in a pattern. Don’t open up the ties, just remove the labels, as you want fabric on both sides – although you do need to remove the wide end as there isn’t fabric on both sides in that area. Fold the other end of the scarf over, to sandwich the necktie pattern between the 2 ends. Fold the muslin over, then roll the whole thing up and secure (but not too tightly) with cloth strips or string or something. The roll is placed in a hot water bath with vinegar in it and kept just below boiling for about 2o minutes. They tend to float so you have to come up with a way to keep them submerged!
Here we are starting our layouts:
This was mine:
and another one:
One very interesting thing was that the color of the necktie doesn’t necessarily predict how it will come out on the scarf! Some just transfer their dye more completely. Others transfer as a paler color, or a different color. So there is a definite element of serendipity to this whole process. But they all came out really cool.
I have more neckties and scarf blanks here at home, so will be doing more of these!