Dyeing Silk - My Experiments
by Jan Ede May 2002
I promised Rissa I would write an article about dyeing for our web page, so as I do some, I'll take digi pictures and write up a blurb. There will be three more types of dyes I'll write about. Procion MX, Colour Hues and Ribbonsmyths microwave dyes.
Potassium Permangante as a dye
I first read about this stuff in one of Jenny Haskins Creative Embroidery magazines, an Australian publication no longer in production.
The Australians call it Condys Crystals, my hubby calls it permanganated potash (he was in the merchant navy and this was one type of cargo) and I call it neat stuff! A textile artist I know, now in her 70s, says it was one of the basic dyes in classes she took many, many years ago.
I got a jar from my pharmacist (I'm Canadian) the crystals are like coarse salt but they are a dark purple colour. You can also find it at garden/pond suppliers.
I use a 4 litre (gallon) plastic ice cream container, fill it up with warm to hot water. WEAR GLOVES AND OLD CLOTHES and dissolve about a teaspoon of crystals. The water will turn a lovely purple, but as it oxidizes with the air it will turn a warm brown colour.
Different fibres will turn different colours. You can immerse your fabrics/laces/ribbons for varying lengths of time for some different effects. Agitate with a spoon for more evenly toned shades or let sit and be surprised. When you're satisfied just rinse well with water.
I've read you can do the 'salt' technique with this using something called Napi San in Australia but I've not found this stuff in my neck of the woods.
I like the antique feel it gives to dyed fibres, man made and natural and how it changes some ugly colours to lovely useable ones.
Here what I've just dyed .....
Click on any image to enlarge.