Monday, January 26, 2009

playsilk dyeing

Krista and I ordered some silks from Dharma Trading before Christmas with the intent to dye them with the kids. While they are beautiful and a lovely product, we had to pay exorbitant duties from customs into Canada. BUT we were still very excited.

I have been hoping to use natural dyes but seem to lack the energy to collect the needed supplies at the moment. So, we used the ever-useful Kool-Aid. The kids had a great time stirring and immersing their silks. We only used small amounts cold water and Kool-Aid. It was interesting to see that the silks sucked all the dye out of the water leaving only the slightest tinge of colour in the remaining water.

Also, the blue Kool-Aid caused some strange reaction to the kid's skin making it sore and itchy...makes me wonder what it does to one's innards. They turned out beautiful and BRIGHT. When Krista added the red to the green, the resulting colour was more of a natural brown than an intense synthetic colour.

We dyed the remainder of our silks on Friday. My sister's twins helped and seemed to LOVE the crafty experience.

At this point, I had read some tutorials on how to dye playsilks with Kool-Aid in a different manner to ensure colour-fastness. But, unfortunately/fortunately, we don't have a microwave in our house due to my neurotic fears involving this small appliance, radiation and an event resulting in explosive microwaved eggyolk dangling from everyone's eyelashes at the breakfast table as a child. Anyhow.....Our silks turned out great without the microwave or the vinegar. We did not rinse them but haven't had any trouble with colour transfer.

After we had finished, we hung the silks out on the line to dry. It was wonderful to watch these colourful, light fabrics flutter around in the cold, dull backyard. I am so looking forward to sheets on the line again one day and fresh Spring green.

I am hoping to either find a source for more playsilks within Canada in an attempt to not have to pay these duties or to make some from silk from the bolt. I am wondering if the rolled hems would pose a difficulty. Also, I'd LOVE to attempt to do the natural dyes and see if we can produce some more natural occurring colours....Although, I still love the silks we have dyed this time too.

*I am realizing that this post is a bit of 'non-information' but I am leaving it up due to the pretty pictures.


Hallie said...

They turned out beautiful! I know when we did ours I think I enjoyed it as much or more than the girls did! lol I can't wait to do some more in the spring!

Marissa said...

they turned out gorgeous!!

if there's anything i can do in the US to help you with duties/shipping, let me know. ;)

Krista said...

Don't forget to mention about that freaky itch the kids all got from the Kool-aid solution - especially the blue! Sam was not impressed! I wonder what that itch is all about!

Glad you finally posted about this, love the pictures, the ones out on the line turned out so bright and lovely!

Krista said...

Ack - sorry I missed that paragraph - too distracted by pretty pictures, you did mention the itch. Scratch that then *grin*.

chelle said...

oh dear, I used to have a link to a place that sold wholesale silk in Canada and now I cannot find it ... grr.

Bummer about customs, the exchange rate is so yuck right now I hesitate to order anything.

I adore silks, we too have dyed our own and love it!

Wendy Mewhort said...

Hey Jackie,
It's comforting to know that someone else gets freaked out about microwaves. I FANTASIZE about releasing ours constantly... but alas, certain other family members are 'attached'. Hmmm... maybe I'll do it anyways :-)

Amber said...

You can order silk from Maiwa on Granville Island. Here's there online craft supplies:

I have used Kool-Aid dye on wool, and what I did was heat the solution on the stove. I mixed them up in the pot with cold water first, and then once I had something I liked I heated it up, not to boiling but just below. I imagine the same thing would work on silk, no microwave required. Then you could wash them and avoid the skin reaction.

My ever-talented friend made us some playsilks, and we love them. So much fun!

hippymummy said...

Amazing! I've never done anything like this with my lot, i wonder if any of you clever mammies out there know anywhere in the U.K. that i could get this stuff from?
They look beautiful all fluttering on the line don't they! Roll on spring and line drying weather again as opposed to blowing across the garden and ruining it weather! Lol xXx

Bonnie said...

Hi Jackie,

I was just about to tell you about Maiwa here in vancouver but I see Amber up above has already done so.
This is on my ever-expanding list of projects. The photos look lovely. I can't wait to do it now and add some colour to my dull, eagerly-awaiting-spring backyard. Oh wait, all the snow and ice Vancouver got this winter knocked my clothesline down! I'll just add that to the list too...argh!

Sheets flapping in the breeze is definitely something to look forward to!


Hawkfeather said...

i ordered a THWACK of silk from the same place.. and was so happy when it arrived- totally forgetting about duty fees.. it was ridiculous- like more than i paid for the silk by far.

I love the silk- had a blast with it- but the cost. whew.

I was told there are labels they can put on the box to cut down on the duty- part of the cost is them having to spend time *guessing* what is in the box.. that is what they told me about my silk. weird hey?

I second getting them from Granville.
that is what I doing a.s.a.p.. well a.s.a.i.h.s.c-

i am in love with painting silk though.. this was my first.. but i have done a heap since. loving it through and through.

lemme know if you find another silk source hey?

leigh in the sav said...

gorgeous pic of the silks on a line. seriously gorgeous!

Annie said...

They looked like they turned out so well! I love all the colours you were able to create!

Down with microwaves. :)

Kathryn said...

How beautiful! Thanks for the more ways than one! :O)

Carle' said...

Very cool, soooo pretty.

chelle said...

Found the link ....

I have not ordered from them yet, however I plan to soon to stock up on gifts!