steaming silk procion H
  • I have had great success using pricion H mixed only with water (generally 1 tsp per 4 oz of water)
    I steam yardage in my home made stove pipe steamer for about an hour and get luscious colors
    I thought I would try it with chemical water
    (1 cup urea, 2 tsp ludigol - I left out the 1 tsp calgon to make 1 quart)
    I have seen several recipes, some with baking soda which I didn't use.
    I added 1 tsp of procion H to 4 oz chem water. I used this formula to teach a class (mistake number 1) and the color looked great after dyeing. The dye was heavily applied, but had dried for 4 days before steaming. When I steamed the silk (mistake number 2, too much work for a class of 9) as I usually do, much of the dye seemed to discharge onto the protective layers of sheeting. It was like there was so much moisture caused by the heavy application of dye or the urea? or ludigol?, that the dye started to bleed and soften. The colors were very pastel instead of the intense color that I expected. Although the sheets seem to have taken the dye well, LOL.
    Can anyone help me figure out what the problem is??
    I think I'll go back to using water from the hose ... seemed to work better than chemical water.
    I'm steaming 27 more yards of this silk again today and could really use some feed back. Help!
    Nancy
    www.nancydorian.com
  • Hi Nancy,

    The short answer is, you do not need to use the chemical water when painting silk. Because silk loves dye it takes very little to assist the fabric to take the dye - steam heat alone is going to do it.
    The longer answer: as the chemical water contains urea, which is a humectant, it pulls moisture from the steam. While this is helpful with cottons and necessary with rayon when steaming Procion H dyes with silks it simply pulls too much moisture to the fabric and allows the dyes to migrate (to the sheet wraps in your case). Another thing to look at is temperature. If your steam chamber is not reaching 220 Fahrenheit there will be more moisture available to the fabric and this will cause wicking or migration of the dyes as well.
    Hope this helps
    anet
  • Thanks Anet
    very helpful
    I had done my steaming on a very humid day and combined with using urea and LOTS of dye made for tons of moisture
    my subsequent steamings were much more successful, I think because I aired the silks on the line before steaming and luckily they had used less dye on the second piece of silk. The china silk was much more forgiving that the gauze, too. So many variables and lots to learn.
    It reminds me in some ways of my days as a potter dealing with glazing.
    I'm really loving exploring the world of dyeing!
    Nancy