Dyes won't hold on the habotai silk scarves
  • 11/13/08: I think I've found the reason. The water co. advises our water is soft, so it's not hard water. I experimented yesterday with two small pans with dyebath in each. It took 2-1/2 hours before the dyebaths were hot enough to use, as I have a ceramic stovetop which turns heat on and off. (I also believe my stove is faulty, as one burner explodes like a volcano when water boils, with no warning; the other burner works fine.) So... ceramic stovetops don't cut it (at least, mine doesn't), for keeping our dyebaths hot enough for the silk to retain the dye... Hope this helps some others out there!


    Hi: I've spent a month stovetop dyeing some long & narrow habotai silk scarves and, though I achieve the ombre look I've wanted, nothing I've done seems to keep the dyes from leaching-out of the silk, and now I'm also concerned about someone wearing one of my scarves in the rain and having dye leach-out on their skin and their clothing! I've spent hours at a time and many days, searching the internet, reading tutorials, even talking with someone at both Dharma and at Jacquard (this week, bless you for telling me the instructions I originally had, were wrong!).

    I'm using the Jacquard acid dyes for silk. I've brought the temp of the dyebaths slowly up to simmer/almost boiling. I've tried using salt in the dyebaths and also without salt. I add 3/4 c. of vinegar (in the pot I'm using on the stove) after the dyebath has simmered for at least 10 minutes. Originally, I placed the scarf in the dye pot while it was reaching the right temperature; now I dip the scarf into the dyebath and leave it there for lengths of time, to achieve the graduated hues I seek.

    After hours spent stirring and lifting the scarves to achieve the graduated hues I want, I lay them flat to dry (originally, instructions were to rinse them right away, but I learned from Jacquard this week that that is Not what to do!). After they've laid for a day, I steam them for 2 hours or so. Then, I let them hang for 24 hours, as recommended. Then, I wash them in Synthrapol, in warm water to cold, as I learned we're not supposed to use hot water while working with the acid dyes on silk. The scarves' water still doesn't rinse clear; if and when it does, all but a base, pastel color remains on the scarves. I blot them with a towel and iron them and have been so disappointed in my results.

    I've redyed scarves as often as three times (first, washing them in Synthrapol again, to get the silk to accept redyeing); I also make sure the scarf is damp before I place it into the dye bath.

    I am no longer leaving the scarf in the dyebath for 10 minutes prior to adding the vinegar, as I want a light color to begin with. I've read that we can mix more dye and add it to the dyebath to achieve darker hues as we're stovetop dyeing, but I'm achieving the rich coloration in hues I want, by "dipping" the scarf (each color has its own time; sometimes it's for 5 minutes per "section" I want to dye, sometimes as long as 20 minutes). Nothing seems to be working to get the color to stay in the scarves and also prevent them from leaching-out color when they're wet again (such as in rainfall while being worn). Help.