Friday, April 11, 2014


So I went to the local hardware store to get a cheap enamel pot for dyeing my fabric.

Cashier: What are you making?
Me: Oh I'm dyeing.
(Awkward silence and a concerned look from cashier)
Me: Fabric!  I'm dyeing fabric!  Not dying - dyeing!
Cashier: OH!  Like tie-dye?
Me: Yes, sort of like tie dye.  But without the tie part.

I bought a bunch of lovely acid dyes from Dharma Trading that should work for both silk & feathers, since they are both protein based.  They have lots of very thorough instructions on the website, that I broke down into simpler directions because I can only read short short sentences when I am cooking.  Dyeing is a bit like cooking, a crazy chemistry experiment and an elaborate art all in one steaming hot pot.

After I did all the work of paraphrasing the instructions, I realize simple instructions are on the dye containers.  Now that I am the Captain of Redundancy, I am all prepared to dye.  Not die.  Dye.

I have a couple of projects in mind.  I want to make a silk cocktail hat in a peachy pink nude color so I got:
Peach Blush
Flamingo pink
Coral Pink
Raspberry - ok, not sure this will help at all.  It was getting toward dinner time when I ordered and Raspberries are yummy.

I have a light aqua (very similar to Tiffany Blue) straw cloche that I have blocked.  So I planned to dye some silk for a sash and maybe some flowers to go on it.  Or a feather pompom.  Or both! Dye colors:
Caribbean blue
Bright Aqua

Why so many dye colors?  Wellllllll.  Just like my college chemistry classes, I don't always get expected results from cooking or dyeing.  Plus I haven't actually dyed anything in... wow, it occurs to me I haven't dyed anything since college either.  I will pause for a brief moment of distress on how old I am getting.

Anyhow, Dharma had great prices on dyes, so I got a lot.  I also got a great deal on some silk that a friend brought back for me from India.  I have silk Habotai, Crepe de Chine, Silk Velvet and a pile of feathers to work on.  I even have some lovely Tussar silk, but I may save that for a special project.  Since I like making my own silk flowers, I can color coordinate the hat with the flowers, or mix dyes for various effects.

So, dyeing is added to my to-do list, along with making hats and costumes for the San Jose Renaissance Faire in August.  I have a lot to do before then, and a busy not-quite-two-year-old, so hopefully I am not being too ambitious.

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