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Old 10-24-2007, 10:02 PM   #1
Lady Violet
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dyeing silk
i need silk to knit my grandmother's christmas present because she's allergic to animal fibers. the problem is, i can't find the right color and it's not exactly cheap. i'm thinking about getting some bare silk and dyeing it. for some reason it seems much cheaper that way. my lys has loads of bare yarn, but i don't know if i could get a small enough amount. i only need about 300 yards.
halcyon yarn has some bare silk for what (to me) look like good prices. have any of you used their yarn? what would be the best way to dye bare silk? i've never actually dyed before, so i'll definitely practice with wool and kool-aid first just so i don't completely botch it up. i know it's not the same thing, but it's better than nothing! (plus i already have the stuff sitting in a bag waiting to be used. )
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Old 10-24-2007, 10:58 PM   #2
scout52
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what color silk are you looking for? check out http://www.colourmart.com/#349

they have alot of silk in 150g cones that starting $16.00 in all colors.

that way you won't have to worry about messing it up
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Old 10-24-2007, 11:08 PM   #3
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thanks, scout. you're an !

do you know how often they get in new yarn? i'd really like the laceweight in dark blush and they currently only have it in blush.
also, what's the difference between the difference laceweights?
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Old 10-25-2007, 03:45 AM   #4
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You're very welcome. I discovered them and have been in trouble ever since. i now have silk dk in airforce blue, kingfisher blue, royal blue, red red, dark blush, and dark lavender. and i might be getting the emerald and the silk peppermint
i been getting about 1x a week when they update. the dark blush is beautiful!!!! i have it in the dk weight. the 2 different selections of laceweight are slightly different wieghts. you can tell which one is the thicker yarn by which one is less amount on the cone. Its has one extra ply in the yarn.
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Old 10-25-2007, 02:13 PM   #5
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Oh geez. Must.. resist. hehehe
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Old 10-25-2007, 02:25 PM   #6
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i will definitely be getting some air force blue as my brother is in the air force. i really hope they get more of that dark blush in soon right after i get paid on wednesday and before the money's all gone. i LOVE buying christmas yarn! it's fun to play with, plus i have no problem giving it away because i see these people (mostly family) all the time!

to keep this thread ON topic , i really would like to dye some silk. my grandmother loves anything and everything i knit for her, and i just don't want to give her acrylic. it might be too scratchy next to her sensitive skin. her birthday's in april so i'll probably be able to get some experimentation in before i absolutely HAVE to get started on her birthday present.
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Old 10-25-2007, 04:22 PM   #7
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Silk can be dyed with either fiber reactive dyes or acid dyes.

Acid dyes are used to dye wool and silk and need to be heated. A mild acid such as vinegar or citric acid is needed to lower the ph of the dyebath so that the dye can strike. Silk can be damaged by high temperatures and should be kept under 180 degrees farenheit. Acid dyes leave a clear or almost clear dye water when done. The dyed yarn should then be cooled and given a quick rinse to remove any extra dye so that it doesn't run when the finished garment is washed. For safety's sake, a pot or container used for dyeing should never again be used for food.


Fiber reactive dyes like procion mx are used on silk and plant fibers and can be used with warm water and do not need to be heated. Fiber reactive dyes need sodium carbonate (soda ash) to raise the ph of the dyebath so the dye can strike. The yarn can either be soaked in a sodium carbonate solution beforehand (for hand painting or solid shade dyeing), or the sodium carbonate can be added to the dyebath (for solid shade dyeing). The dyebath won't turn clear like it will for acid dyeing. Items dyed with fiber reactive dye need to be washed out to remove any unattached dye. This consists of a cold water wash and at least one hot water wash. The dyes work differently on silk as they do plant fibers so a dye that gives one color on a plant fiber may give a different color on silk, for example a dye that gives a green on cotton may give a more bluish green with silk. Fiber reactive dyes tend to soften silk and dull the shine a bit: it'll still have a shine though.

Last edited by IamtheWalter : 10-25-2007 at 09:17 PM. Reason: clarification and removing unneeded carriage return
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Old 10-25-2007, 05:51 PM   #8
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oooh thanks for the info. I bought some silk to dye before i found colourmart. and I'm still trying to get the nerve to dye it without ruining the shine. i've never dyed before. i bought extra just in case i F#$* it up.
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Old 10-25-2007, 09:30 PM   #9
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When I first started dyeing, I dyed silk with fiber reactive dyes since I was dyeing wool with food coloring at the time, silk dyed with food coloring tends to bleed badly, and while I did have a tupperware dedicated for microwave dyeing with food coloring, didn't want to use acid dyes in my microwave, (no real reason, just being overly cautious) so I got a bucket and some fiber reactive dye, and dyed some cotton then some silk.

Now I'm set up for dyeing with acid dye so I dye silk with acid dye but only because I dye wool much more often than plant fibers and always have acid dye around.

I also forgot to add that fiber reactive dye can be used like acid dye using vinegar and heating and since it's the alkalinity that dulls the shine, dyeing like that should preserve the shine.

I however have never used fiber reactive dye as an acid dye so I can't offer any personal observations.
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Old 10-25-2007, 11:46 PM   #10
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wow. walter, you truly are amazing. thanks!!!
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