How an ENTWINEMENTS scarf is made-2

3 October 2006

Yesterday the scarves were made, today they will be dyed a base color. They will be dyed with Lanaset dyes, a deep rich purple–purple passion. Here is our formula and records for that color:
color records.jpg
You can see our color swatch, 4 layers of china silk, right under the formula in the sheet protector on the left. There is also a jacquard hanky and a continuity sheet with a small swatch from every dye lot of this color. I’m a strong believer in keeping records, it is the only way I get smarter with time.
Next all 50 scarves we are going to dye have been gather together in this box. We need to weigh them to determine their mass and then calculate the amount of dye we will use. We need the dry weight to be meaningful. The box is placed on the digital balance and it is tared (that means it reads zero even though there is something on it) and then the silk is added to the box and the weight of the silk, 1462g, appears on the screen.
weigh silk.jpg
This is referred to as the weigh of fiber, WOF, or the weight of goods, WOG. This number is then used to calculate the correct amount of dye to get the same color.
PURPLE PASSION_dye calculator.cwk (SS).jpg
Here you can see that the total amount of dye is 65.79g,and that it is divided up among 3 manufactured dye colors, Polar Red ( not a Lanaset dye, but compatible and adds a bright red component), violet and black. The Lanaset violet is quite bright and with the Polar Red, also bright , it is a dark and bright red purple.

These are the dye powders we will use and the amounts needed:
And we will disolve them in this water:
This is a favorite tool– a hot plate/stirrer. The white ceramic top heats and is controlled by one dial . Underneath the top plate is a rotating magnet, the speed of rotation is controlled by the other dial. If you drop a plastic coated magnet in the water you can make the water rotate too. The heat and stirring help the dye powders to dissolve, an essential first step in dyeing.
So I weighed the Polar Red dye and added it to the beaker with the hot swirling water. Now I weigh the violet dye.
weigh dye.jpg
I love digital balances; the number of grams I want, 26.32g, is the number I see! Then I add the violet to the beaker:
And make sure the all of the dyes is transferred to the beaker with a wash bottle. Last the black dye is added and then all the dye is left stirring on the hot plate until used. This is done first so the dyes have ample time to dissolve.
Today we will use the small dye machine that we have :
dye machine.jpg
We fill it with 100L of water and all the additives for Lanaset then adjust the pH to 5 ( a compromise, 4.5 is better for the Lanasets but Polar Red doesn’t like it that low). The the silk is added and the machine runs for 10 min. This gives the additives time to saturate the silk.
silk in basket.jpg
The grey spot is a net laundry bag that holds the small swatches that might otherwise escape the basket. It has turned grey with use. Then we add the dissolved dye.
add dye.jpg
We pour the dye into the bath not onto the silk. The dye run begins now, the machine heats the bath up to 90°C and holds it at 90°C for 30 min. Then a cool down, back down to 40°C. All the time the silk is being moved so that the dyeing is level.
colored silk.jpg
The silk is the spun to remove the water and hung to dry.
My house is identified as the one with the colors out front.


7 Responses to “How an ENTWINEMENTS scarf is made-2”

  1. Claire Says:

    Hi Karren, I am enjoying your posts in this series. It never occurred to me that there was such a thing as a dyeing machine… although, now I think about it, it seems so logical 🙂


  2. Tracy Says:

    You have the COOLEST GADGETS!
    I will think of you with envy as I stir the silk in the stainless steel stockpot on the stove…


  3. glennis Says:

    Wow! 50 scarves at once….great machine. Now that’s going to be a lot of pole wrapping. Thanks for sharing your process. Looking forward to the next installment!


  4. Karren Says:

    Actually the machine works by weight of the fiber to be dyed and I am just at the minimum–it works better with more, maximum 3000g. 3000g is over 100 scarves of this very light weight silk.
    Also the machine is a tiny, tiny one mostly used in labs. A SAMPLE dye machine in industry dyes 200lbs at a time. Haven’t calculated how many of these scarves that is, but I’m sure that is more than I have!
    It takes the nearly the same amount of time to dye 50 scarves as it takes to dye 1 so doing as many as possible together sames time and reduces costs. If I need to do less than this I have to do it in a pot also.


  5. RacheLyra Says:

    Thanks for this in-depth look at your amazing work!


  6. KellyT Says:

    Karren, that machine is to dye for! Can you tell me more about it? Where did you purchase it, and is it hard to use. I want to put that on my wish list!! Thanks for the great info on dyeing and how you work it is very insperational!


  7. grace brown Says:

    Just wondering what is the actual discharge that you use. I’m a young shibori artist who isn’t sure what exactly discharge is.


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