The Great (Silk) Scarf Adventure

First steps with Silk

They were supposed to be a stepping stone.   A way to learn more about dyes and color.  Practice before attempting to dye my hand-woven fabrics.

Little did I know.  (Now there’s an expression to ponder!).  As it turns out –very little.

When I first decided to try to teach myself about color, I chose to work with small pieces of cotton fabric.  I was able to document the colors of the dyes, see the results of combining certain colors, and to practice a  simple ‘resist’ technique.

Like tie-dye without the ties.

But those were just samples.   And I have a very limited tolerance for spending time making something that isn’t ever going to be anything.

Silk scarves, on the other hand,  actually are something – with an added bonus.  Practice pieces have the potential of becoming either marketable ‘products’ or (in my default mode) really fabulous gifts.

So, slowly (no surprise) and methodically (that, actually was a surprise) I began trying out different techniques: comparing results; modifying color formulas; and having a lot more fun than I ever expected.

Tray Pleated & Hand Dyed Silk Scarf, 57"x10", by Joanne Littler

I’d imagined a fairly short period of trial and error, but my entire view of hand-dyeing has changed because of these wispy, light bits of fabric, and what they’ve ‘unveiled’.

Choosing this material to work with allowed me to carry out a whole series of  exercises relating to color, and made it relatively easy to practice a variety of methods for imparting color to cloth.

I’m definitely making progress.  And I’m very grateful for the experience.

My plan was to move on (and away) from silk as soon I’d learned enough.

So now the question is: “How much is enough?”

I intend to write more about hand-dyeing.  But it may take a while.  In the meantime, I’ve put more photos on the page: hand dyed scarves. Let me know what you think.

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