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Hey, look at that!

Anyone who’s been reading here for a while knows that I’ve gotten fairly confident with my ability to dye wool, but have been struggling with silk, due primarily to my very, very hard water. It comes out uneven, bad enough, but it also bleeds, which is horrid. And completely unacceptable. I tried everything I could think of: additives, more acid, more heat, more time. No joy, and one major disaster.

But look:

Dyed silk

Four skeins of silk, fresh out of the rinse water. And look harder:

Dyed silk

White towel is white. Even after much squeezing and rolling. Even squeezing this large skein of wool didn’t turn it even the faintest bit pink. (That means that I can fix the major disaster learning experience, though by “fix”, I mean “start over”.)

Dyed silk

So what did I do, you might ask? Did I develop a new technique for acid dyes that will solve the world’s color problems? Sorry, no. These are my test skeins for Lanaset/Sabraset dyes. They are more work, more expensive, and require more ancillary chemicals, but they don’t bleed. For the store, I’ll continue doing all of the hand-paints with acid dyes because of the ease of use. For those, some fading is not a problem as long as they won’t bleed once I’m done with the rinse step. But for solid-colored silk, I’ll be switching. Possibly for solid wool too. I need to do some more sampling, but I’m very happy with these preliminary results. Washfastness has been a horrible timeconsuming issue, and I really hope I’ve made some progress toward resolving my problems.

In other news, the World’s Smallest Pea Patch has experienced its first frost. I did put in a fall crop of peas, but not early enough to do any good. But my CSA is nothing short of miraculous – I came home yesterday with sweet corn. Yum!

First frost

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