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MX dying silk scarf blanks.

MX dying silk scarf blanks.

Sorry to say I have been too busy to felt again. I am hoping to have a little more time now my mom’s house is in possession of the new owners. I thought people might like to see this post  I made in 2012 about dying silk blanks with MX dye. this method works with big things too. I did a dress for my much skinnier self once and some boxer shorts. something else I learned since I posted this the first time is that you can use these dyes as acid dies by using a mild acid and heat. the colours aren’t quite as vibrant but if you can only get one kind of dye this will do double duty for you.


I dye my own silk and one of the ways I do that is with MX dye. MX Dye is a fibre-reactive dye and works on cellulose or plant fibres like cotton, linen and hemp. It also works on silk. As far as I know, silk is the only fibre that you can use both weak acid dyes that are for protein fibres and the MX dyes.

Scarves blowing in the wind.

I like to use the low water dye method. With this method, you use a jar and just a little water. What I do is scrunch or twist or pleat up my silk to be dyed. In this case, they are all about 2 feet wide and 8 feet long. Then you pack it into the bottom of a jar that is big enough to hold the silk and the dye (1/2 a cup) and the fixative (1/4-1/2 cup). It is important that it be a snug fit for this method to work.

I mix up 2 colours of MX dye in 1/4 cup of room temperature water. Pour them over the silk in the jar one at a time making sure the silk is covered with liquid. If it floats, as you can see a couple of my jars did, you need to carefully weigh them down with something non-metal. Metal will affect the dye. This is another reason you want them tightly jammed in the bottom of the jar but sometimes it happens anyway. Once the dye is in the jar you don’t want to disturb them. You don’t want the dyes to mix completely and give you a solid colour.

dye in jars

I am very impatient. So I usually go do something else for 20 min to an hour then I come back and add the fixative. With MX dye you have to raise the PH to get the dye to stick. The cheapest thing for this is PH up from the pool store. You can use washing soda not baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) or order it from your dye supplier but pool chemical is cheap, especially at the end of the season. I add a tablespoon for each cup of water including the water you’re mixing with. Stir to dissolve and then pour it into the jar. You should leave it for an hour to react but I am impatient as I said and usually dump everything out after about 20 min. Rinse the silk in cold water then hot soapy water then one more cold. Here are some results.

I am sorry the pictures aren’t better but the wind wouldn’t cooperate. They were dry in about 10 min.

Here are some others I’ve done over the years. It is a really fun and easy way to play with dye. You should give it a try.


If you want really good detailed instructions I would read about it on Paula Burch’s site.


Dyeing Some Silk and Some Farm Life.

Dyeing Some Silk and Some Farm Life.

I have a couple of ladies coming for a class in nuno felt at the end of the month so dyed a few pieces of silk to add to what I have so they have a nice variety to choose form. I am using the low water immersion method form Paula Burch’s site.  I made collages of the dyeing. You stuff the silk tightly into a jar and then add some dye. The pictures are the dye with the stir sticks so you can see the colours and then of the first dye poured over, then the second so you can see what it looks like. They have to sit for an hour then you add the sodium carbonate.

peach and fire red
peach and fire red
pink and turquiose
pink and turquiose
emerald and black
Bright green and brazil nut
Bright green and brazil nut

This is them hanging to dry.

scarves drying

And then dry. You can see that the colours are better when they are dry but I am still not happy with the emerald an black far right.

silk dry

I also wanted to share some farm life, not sheep I am afraid. These are my chickens getting to look at their new outside pen and true to there name they are chicken to come out. With some time and coaxing they did make it outside.

chickens going outsidechickens going outside 2

We also got some new baby chickens and turkeys. They come in boxes delivered to the local farm Co-op. The boxes are divided into 4 inside so they don’t over crowd each other to much. There are 2 boxes of chicks and one of turkeys

chichens in boxes

These are the turkeys, they are about a week old and have started to get feathers.


These are the chickens, they are day olds. My son is taking them out of their box.

colin and chickens

They are very cute little yellow fluff balls with legs when they arrive.

Dyeing for Class

Dyeing for Class

This weekend and next I am teaching nuno felt scarves. I had to dye silk for bases and wool so there would be a good variety to work with.

For the scarves I used the scrunch method in mason jars. To do this you use fiber reactive dyes. You have to pack you scarf blanks tightly into a container. Next use 2 colours, pouring one then the other over the silk so that it is covered. After 10 min to an hour you pour the sodium carbonate over the whole thing.  Then leave it for at least an hour but really can leave it till tomorrow if you need to. When you rinse you get great mixed patterns. For complete instructions go to Paula Burch’s amazing dye site.

scarves 1 scarves 2 scarves 3

I also renewed dyed wool supply. I spent 2 days with a large pot dying in 100 gram lots.  this is two thirds. of the wool I split one third off each ball and fluffed them out for the students to use.

dyed wool

There are a couple of colours that are from using up the dye left in the pot after doing a colour. I hope my student like the colours I picked.

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