How an ENTWINEMENTS scarf is made-5

10 October 2006

Today I will do three different processes to these poles to create the pleated scarves: discharge, over-dye and set the pleats. The previous steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 have been published here in the blog and are discussed at greater length in my book, SHIBORI: creating color and texture on silk.

We start today with 10 poles wrapped, all in Purple Passion. The first the poles are wet.
And the area around the burner is set up for discharge.
discharge set up.jpg
I have a 15L SS pot that I use and heat on the high btu burner. I have a yellow bucket with cold water to quench the discharge and one with a black top/seat to sit on. After the water comes to a boil, I add my discharge chemicals .
Then I place a pole on top of the pot and scoop out a cupful and pour it over the pole. I repeat until I get the discharge that I want. The discharge color here is yellow, and I want all of the visible silk to have some yellow. If I can’t get the color I want I may need to add more chemicals. When I get the discharge color I want (and what I want has been determined in the design phase) I plunge the pole into the cold water to stop the discharging. With one pot of discharge solution, I can discharge all 10 poles. I do need to occasionally add more chemicals and of course it must be kept hot.
Then I wash them with Synthrapol to remove residue of discharge chemicals and smell. It would complicate my life to add dye if there are still chemicals in the silk that destroy the dyes. Easily solved with a good wash.
As always when you use Synthrapol, you must rinse, rinse, rinse until it no longer foams. Then all the discharged poles are ready for over-dyeing.
discharged poles.jpg

To make the over-dyeing go quickly, I use stock solutions of each manufactured color which I have already made in these pint squirt top bottles. I also keep a gallon of water at a near boil so that I don’t have to wait for the pot to boil!
overdye setup.jpg
I also have a burner for the over-dyes and a cradle to hold the pole.
overdye pot.jpg
I prepare a pot of dye by adding some stock to boiling water:
make overdye.jpg
Then when it boils I use an ear syringe to dye part of the pole.
overdyeing red.jpg
Here you can see two colors of overdye (gold and a blue red) and the discharge color (the yellow), I usually use 4-5 different colors on each pole. I prepare the pot of dye, then put some of that color on each of the poles, then I prepare the next over-dye color and apply that to each of the poles. In this case I will continue over-dyeing until all the discharge color appears to be covered ( it is never really all covered).
One of the most difficult things here is to remember what the original color is and what effect you want. None of the purple is visible, so you must have clear memory of the color to make your composition.
The setting of the texture is a 3 part process in itself and takes 45-50 minutes for each pole. So again I try to make the process more efficient by doing more than one at a time.
First the poles soak in an acid bath for 15-21 min. The pH of the acetic acid bath needs to be between 3.5-4.0 and we measure it with a pH meter, which we have calibrated in a buffer solution. Here the buffer is pH 7.0
I have an acid bath that I use for 3-4 months but the pH must stay in this range. The bath can hold 3 poles at a time.
acid bath.jpg
The poles go from the acid bath to a steamer.
As you can see this is not a commercial steamer but one improvised from a large pot. It can also hold 3 poles at once. Each pole steams for 15-21 min. and then comes out and is wrapped up in towels to keep it hot while the last step is done.
It is rolled back and forth, with as much pressure as I can exert. This bends the silk at the top of the pleats and helps the pleats last. This rolling goes on for and many minutes as I can stand . It also helps to dry the silk. A lot of water is removed by the towels.
The poles must dry completely before they are removed from the poles. I set them in front of a box fan and they will be dry in the morning.


8 Responses to “How an ENTWINEMENTS scarf is made-5”

  1. stephanie s Says:

    thanks again for a wonderful tutorial… i see your arrowmont apron. i took a class there last year, it was such a fantastic place. have you taught there?


  2. beastlysum Says:

    i love your tutorials and fabric–i’ve been scared to try something like this on my own, but now i know i need to just jump in!


  3. Tracy Benton Says:

    I am simply riveted. I am fascinated by this combination of the high-tech and the home-improvised.
    (Also, I just ordered a copy of your book.)


  4. glennis Says:

    Thank you for the time you are putting into this. It is so helpful in combination with your wonderful book. One question- is your burner gas or electric? Can’t wait to see the finished pieces!


  5. Karren Says:

    I use a combination of electric and gas heat. The dye machine is electric (needs 100 amp service for it alone). The two burners that I use to heat pots are both natural gas now. When I worked outside in the carport they worked off a propane tank, the kind used for grills. The stirring/hot plate is electric.
    I have taught at Arrowmont. They have the only good dyeing faclities I have taught in.


  6. Dotti Day Says:

    I have just finished overdyeing with nylomine dyes. I am ready to soak and steam. Is there a step when the dyes are rinsed or does the acid bath take care of that step? Your tutorial is wondeful. I have been working with your book but this is a great help.


  7. Karren Says:

    Washing is not as much of an issue with acid dyes as with fiber reactives. I wouldn’t wash before they are steamed because the steaming sets them. After they are steamed there is no appropriate moment to wash them (you want them hot & acid when you roll them to set the texture). If you want to wash them you might have to steam twice. I don’t and I’ve never had problems.
    I did have one student who did have problems with Red #351 (a problem child). She had so much undissolved dye she was pouring over the poles the silk was acting like a filter to the red dye and you could scrape it off with your fingernail.


  8. Sue H Says:

    Seeing your 6 page explanation of how your scarves are made has brought your book alive and explained things more clearly for me. I can’t wait to have a go! Once the pleats are set with the acid, are the items then washable or dry cleanable. Would a large fabric piece narrowed by pleating gradually return to its original size over time? Thank you so much for sharing this with us.


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