HNW - Setting Silk Dyes EowynA at
Thu Jul 8 23:20:15 PDT 1999

In a message dated 7/8/99 10:11:37 PM, you wrote:

<< My advice is to test your silk before you use it.  Not all silks
have colour fastness problems, even black, which can be a hard dye to fix.>>

Yes, I certainly intend to test it before using it, even with a dye-setting 
process in there.  I am merely expecting it to run like crazy without the dye 
setting process, and possibly not so badly if I set the dyes first.  

I recently did a piece in red Soie d'Alger over a design put on the cloth 
with a water-soluble marker.   I dipped it in water to remove the marker 
(which it did well) and intended to iron it dry immediately.  I was 
interrupted (ah, the joys of children!), and so it was several hours before I 
could return.  The red had migrated slightly into the linen.  So I ironed it 
dry.  It didn't look too bad.  But the rest of the pieces (done in black) 
were crisp in their lines.  This was not, due to the dye.  So I soaked the 
piece for a week in a Biz and soap mixture.  At one point, the piece 
practically glowed.  I changed the water daily.  After awhile, the glow went 
away, and it looked good and clean-- shining white.  At least, the lines of 
stitching were once more crisp.  But the color of the fabric, when placed 
next to the other pieces, was decidedly pink -- like the color difference in 
a pink flourescent bulb vs. a white all-spectrum.  It was a small piece, only 
a couple evening's work, so no great loss.  But enough of a lesson to make me 
wish to pre-wash and pre-set any dyes before embarking on a bigger project.

I have also heard that Needlepoint Silk is a color-fast brand. (I doubt it -- 
I doubt if any is), but I will be testing that out this weekend, too.  Can 
anyone else confirm or deny this rumor?  Otherwise, I'll post the results of 
my experiments.  

<< [the test is to] Put it in the washing-machine on a normal cycle, 
using normal soap-powder.  I
don't wash anything on hot so I don't use hot, but if there's a chance that
you'll wash in hot water, even accidentally later, use hot.>>

I had not even considered the washing machine test, but since I wash all the 
fabric I use in costumes in hot, hot water and dry it hot before I use it 
(get all the shrinkage out that i can before I cut it),  this makes a lot of 
sense.  I'll try it.  But I want to try setting the dye, also (I'm a firm 
believer in the empirical method). 

Thanks for the washing machine suggestion!

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