Today I'm having a blast dyeing the silk hankies I bought over the weekend at The Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival! I've spent a lot of time looking for instructions on how to dye silk hankies, with nothing to be found. I thought I'd share how I made mine, to possibly aid those who were in my shoes.
Silk Hankies, in their natural state
Next, I put a few tablespoons of vinegar into hot water. I immersed the hankies into the water/vinegar solution and let them sit for 30 minutes.
While the hankies are soaking, I heated up water in my kettle til it was at a boil. I also mixed my 3 dyes in pint size mason jars. My formulation for deep, rich colors was: 1/4 t. acid dye (I used jacquard and G&K washfast dyes), 1 T. vinegar, and 1/2 c. water. My colors were Jacquard Violet, G&K Turkey Red, and G&K Leaf Green
From here out, I forgot to take pictures as I went, sorry! Right before you take your silk out of the soak water, lay out some plastic wrap, enough to have a few inches left around the width of your hankies. Take your hankies out of the water, wring them out so they are still damp, but not sopping wet. Lay them out on your plastic wrap.
Next comes the fun part! With a Tablespoon, spoon the dye onto your hankie in whatever fashion you like. I used my 3 colors and put them in their own distinct areas, and blended them slightly where they met so as not to have any white area (except in the middle, I left a little bit of white in the middle intentionally).
After you have put the dyes on the silk, add a layer of plastic wrap over the silk, and overlapping with the under layer of wrap. Fold the hankies in 3rds lengthwise, and then roll it up like a tortilla.
Take your roll, and gently submerge it into your hot water bath. Keep the water hot enough that it's steaming. Keep the silk roll in the hot water bath for about 20 minutes.
When 20 minutes is up, you can take your silk roll out and put it into cool water. I suppose you should be patient and let it sit and cool, but I was impatient to see if it actually worked! I unwrapped the hankies out of the plastic wrap and rinsed it in cool water - the dye had taken to the silk and I had clear rinse water. I then wrung it out again and hung it on a hanger to dry.
Ta-Da! Here are my hankies, all ready to spin! I'm looking forward to working on turning them into yarn tonight while I watch Project Runway!
p.s. I did this today, I'll do it again in a few days and I'll post pictures for the entire process :)