Dyeing Silk

Dyeing Silk

Since the house was tidy for Christmas I used the opportunity to do some dyeing. I mostly did fibres, but I also wanted to dye some silk. I have lots of patterned silk scarves, but wanted some more ‘plain’. This first pices is some silk Karen (who used to do the blog with us) sent me years ago. It’s labelled ’tissue silk’, is similar to silk chiffon, but different more like crepe. I dipped it in darker blue first, then lighter blues at the other end.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese pieces are silk habotai. The photo doesn’t do them justice, they have such a gorgeous shine. I’m kicking myself I didn’t buy lots of silk from wollknoll when the exchange rate was in our favour!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are some pieces of silk chiffon, there’s less colour variation in these than in the tissue silk and habotai pieces. They came out really nice though:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese strips are from a piece of silk I got in a charity shop, it was a green to white blended piece, so I tore it where the green was palest, and dyed strips from those parts with blues and greens, and the whitest part burgundy with some purple shades.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also overdyed some printed silk I had. I can’t find any photos of it here, but I used it on a couple of notebook covers. It was nice in an unusual kind of way, but not so nice I didn’t mind completely changing it! This first piece was overdyed with blues and greens, it doesn’t look massively different, but it toned down the yellows:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this isn’t the best photo, but the over-dyeing turned out better than I expected using oranges and reds over greens/blues:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd here’s a rolled up batt I made from multi scraps a while ago:


17 thoughts on “Dyeing Silk

  1. Nice dying Zed. Surely that batt is crying out to be used with the last piece of silk – perfect colour co-ordinating….

    1. Thanks, Jill 🙂
      I think the batt has a lot of wool which turned out to be some kind of superwash, but I’d planned to use it for spinning anyway.

  2. I agree with Jill about the colour combo. Fabulous dyeing Zed – and so frustrating when you can’t get a photo to do justice to a colour isn’t it?

    1. Thanks, Lyn 🙂
      My blues turned out better than usual though, so it’s not too bad!

    1. Was that was me who said that? Yeah, as much as I hate the mess, it does get ideas flowing 🙂

  3. Nice work Zed. Love the complementary blues and oranges. Is that Eurolana Turquoise? It’s difficult to show the sheen on photos but I bought some of that habotai from Wollknoll too, so I know how beautiful it is. Wish I’d bought more too while the exchange rate was so good.

    1. Thanks, Judith 🙂
      I did use Eurolana Turquoise, though not ‘neat’, I was doing a lot of mixing in jars and dripping a few colours on each scarf. I never actually bought any from wollknoll, I wish I had, even 1 metre, I think I got this from ebay years ago. I’d have bought a load if I had any idea about the exchange rate.

  4. You got some great colors and that last overdyed piece is wonderful! I’m looking forward to seeing how you use all this lovely silk 🙂

    1. Thanks, Ruth 🙂
      my friend wants me to make her an orange purse, so some will be used on that, I was pleased with the last overdyed one too.

    1. Thanks, Ann 🙂
      I’m pretty sure that batt has a lot of that dodgy ‘superwash’ stuff in, but I’d planned on spinning it anyway.

  5. Beautiful colors Zed! Now what will you do with them? It is hard to get the shine in a photo, but I can imagine how lovely they are.

    1. Thanks, Marilyn 🙂
      I think most of them will just go in with my other silks for future use, it’ll be nice to have more choice.

  6. I am looking for silk roving or whatever is used to make silk paper. Could anyone advise me on a source and what particular type of silk product is used. This is new for me, but I’m very anxious to learn…just need materials which aren’t available locally. I’d prefer to not order from UK because of the wait time.

    1. Hi,
      the main types of silk roving/tops are mulberry silk and Tussah Silk. Tussah Silk is more ‘animal friendly’ because the moths leave the cocoon, it is naturally a warm honey-gold. Mulberry silk is farmed silk, the worms are fed mulberry leaves, it is a white silk. Although you don’t want to buy from the UK, if cost is a factor, you should consider it (World of Wool). Prices will be more expensive for dyed silk tops, and if you buy from a smaller supplier too, because it is time consuming. If you want to do it yourself though, it is fairly simple and we have guides on here. I don’t have specific sites to recommend, sorry, the US ones are very expensive and many absorb their policy of ‘free shipping’ into product prices. Do a search for ‘silk tops’, ‘silk roving’, ‘dyed tussah silk’ etc and you will get some results.

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