Monday, October 07, 2013

Another Dye Day - And General Cleanup

The San Luis Obispo County Open Studios event is coming up this next weekend, Oct. 12-13, and again the following weekend, Oct 19-20. Must be time to rid the studio of a year's worth of dust bunnies and other miscellaneous junk that is of no interest to visitors (or, at least, shouldn't be). I always imagine visitors muttering to themselves, "Oh, wow, I've never seen so many and such large dust bunnies!!! Or so much junk that I simply can't imagine is actually used in her artwork..."

Never mind that the "junk" consists of tools a weaver can't live without - warping reel, raddles, extra reeds, framing and mounting hardware and supplies, mannequin and backdrop for photo sessions, etc. To the typical visitor, it's "junk."

Soooo, if you're in the general area, please do drop by between the hours of 10am and 5pm on those days, and you'll have a chance to see me weaving on a 24-shaft dobby loom and/or a 1,440-hook jacquard loom and DH turning wood on his lathe(s). He's doing some studio-cleaning, too, so you won't be ankle-deep in sawdust.

Today I decided to "repair" some commercially woven silk scarves (from Exotic Silks, naturally) that earlier this year I scrunch-dyed using fiber reactive dyes. I should know better by now - scrunch dyeing (aka Low Water Immersion dyeing) on silk works much better with washfast acid dyes or Lanaset dyes than with fiber reactive dyes. So I had 3 scarves (one green, one fuchsia, one turquoise) with blotchy, blurry, not-crisp patterning. Yuck, to my eye.

The green one was LWI-overdyed with Lanaset black this time, and now I really like it.

The fuchsia and turquoise got LWI-overdyed in a mix of Lanaset navy and royal, and again, the results are much more pleasing to me. Plus, the blue mix covered up some hot-spots of dye that hadn't been thoroughly dissolved in the first go-round.

My method takes advantage of the speed of the microwave. I wet out the silk in a mix of vinegar and water, and then scrunch it into a Pyrex pan. I pour over the dye stock, and add vinegar water if there isn't enough liquid. The pan is then covered in a sheet of plastic wrap, and I zap it in the microwave in bursts of 1 minute for 4 or 5 times, with a (variable) wait time between. When the liquid is clear, the job is done.

And now I have some low-price items for the rack of scarves for Open Studios. Yippee!


Connie Rose said...

Hope it's a great Open Studios! I love that first piece you overdyed -- magnifico!

neki desu said...

that's the one time i miss not having a microwave.
mine died-note the spelling- :) and was never replaced.

good luck with the visits

Cally said...

I'm sure they don't really think that... Perhaps you can imagine them saying to themselves, "wow, what a mysterious collection of fascinating objects - she must be awesomely skilled to use all those things" :-)