Monday, October 7, 2013

Dyeing soy silk (and some wool)

I wanted to make some "soy silk paper", sometimes called "silk fusion" and bought some white soy silk fiber at Fancy Tiger in Denver.  I wanted to try dyeing it.  Looking on the Internet, it says to consider soy silk like a protein fiber, like wool, not a plant fiber, like cotton.

Since I had experimented with dyeing fibers before, see links below, I thought I would try Kool Aid dyeing and Color Hue dyeing the soy silk.

Links to previous experiments:
     See here  for wool roving dyeing (and silk scarf dyeing) with Color Hue dye
     See here for bamboo dyeing with Rit dyes
     See here for bamboo dyeing with Procion MX dyes
     See here for Nylon dyeing with Kool aid
     See here for Tencel dyeing with Rit dyes

First I tried the Kool Aid dyeing. No fiber is safe when I am doing experiments so some wool and wool/silk blend roving also get in the dye. I also found a package of wavy wool I bought at a garage sale.

Fibers from left to right, soy silk, wool/silk blend, two types of wool (Merino and Brown? that is what is on the receipt, I bought these a while ago), and the wavy wool. I used 3 to 4 packets of Kool Aid for each batch. Please note that the Kool Aid is the color in the cup that Punchy is holding on the front of the package, not the color of the package itself. I had four purple packages that I thought were all grape, and it turned out I had two grape (purple) but two were some other flavor that was actually a gross red color. I didn't realize this until I had already stirred them all up in water and basically got maroon.
 I soak my fibers in water to help absorption and squeeze all the water out before putting it in the dye batch.

I mix my Kool Aid packets in a microwavable container with about a cup and a half of water. I pour a little vinegar on the fibers before they go in. Kool Aid is supposed to be "acid enough" without the vinegar, but it doesn't hurt.

Shove 'em in. Stir 'em a bit. I nuke it in the microwave for 2 minutes (lightly covered). I let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Sometimes that is enough for the fibers to take all the dye. The water should be clear or a cloudy white when all the dye is absorbed.  If there is still dye in the water, it can be nuked some more, but be careful as I don't think the soy silk likes the heat.  Nuke one more minute if necessary, and let it sit until cool.(Microwaves vary so I take no responsibility if you have problems or issues related to microwave dyeing.)

Here are my fibers cooling down. I don't want to rinse them while they are hot, as the wool may felt due to the quick temperature change. After they cool, I will rinse them well in cool water. If I feel they still have a lot of dye in them, I will let them sit in 2" of water in the sink, squeezing the fibers and changing the water every so often. The maroon took a ton of work to rinse out. 

While they are cooling, I am going to set up my other dyes.  These are Color Hue dyes and I got the sample set last Christmas. I have only seen these for sale on the Internet, and am pretty sure my set came from Dharma Trading. These are concentrated dyes, and I already have some mixed with water in small squirt and spray bottles.

I set up seven sandwich ziplock baggies and seven sets of fiber. Again, I wet my fibers before putting them in the baggies. I leave the fibers a little wet as this will help the dyes move through the fibers. These are considered instant set dyes, so after I add the dye (a healthy squirt into the baggie), I squeeze the bottom of the baggie with one hand, making sure the dyes don't try to escape at the top. If there are any white areas left on the fiber, I add more dye. I sometimes will squirt one color at one end and another color at the other to get a variegated color. The water is supposed to be clear when the dye is absorbed, but my water is never clear. I let them sit in their baggies for a few hours, squeezing occasionally. I then poured any remaining colored dye water into a large ziplock bag with some damp silk fabric since I didn't want the dye to go to waste (I had 3 silks each in a large baggy, one each for yellow/green, blue, and red dyes).

 Per the directions, after dyeing with Color Hues, I just need to rinse out the extra dye and then let them air dry.  I had issues with a previous batch, so I actually took these out of their baggies and let them air dry without rinsing then first. When they were dry I rinsed them, then let them air dry again.

Here is a picture of both the Kool Aid and the Color Hue dyed fibers.

Here are just the soy silks.  The ones on the left are Kool Aid dyed and they became curly/frizzy from the heat. The Color Hue ones still have smooth fibers. I did have problems with the soy silk not being completely dyed throughout. When I loosen the fibers, there are white patches that didn't get dyed. In the future I will spread the fibers before putting it in the baggy or container with the dyes.

 Soy silk: Color Hue dyed on the left, Kool Aid/microwave dyed on the right.

Next time, making fiber papers!

1 comment:

  1. They turned out great. I'm hoping to get time to do a dyeing day soon, try a bunch of fibres with Procion vs Acid dyes.