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Topic: Silk that doesn't take dye?  (Read 1357 times)
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OneSheepHill
« on: November 08, 2007 05:57:46 PM »

I have some fiber that I got awhile back from a supplier who I don't purchase from anymore and who I don't really trust. It's supposed to be 70%wool/30% silk, but when I dye it, the "silk" isn't taking any dye at all. I've done quite a lot of dyeing so I know my method is fine (don't mean that to sound snotty, I just wanted to clarify that I know what I'm doing). Has anyone had silk that simply won't take acid dyes? I'm wondering if it's because it's been heavily bleached... but it seeems like heavy bleaching should prepare it for dye and not the other way around. So I don't know... this has never happened to me before. I'm just wondering if anyone else has experienced it. If not, I'm going to assume the supplier is lying and this is some type of celulose fiber!

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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2007 12:41:10 PM »

I would tend to agree with your assumption that this might be a celulose silk, perhaps soy silk??
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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2007 04:50:07 AM »

I have had problems with silk not dyeing evenly: it seems to need longer to soak than wool does, but it still dyes.

It sounds like you have a viscose fiber like rayon, tencel, or bamboo. Since it seems like the "silk" portions are not completely mixed into the roving but are in there as streaks, maybe you could separate a small amount of the mystery fiber from the roving being careful not to get any wool, and spin it into a short length of yarn then do a burn test on it.

Here's a fiber burn chart:
http://www.ditzyprints.com/dpburnchart.html
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OneSheepHill
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2007 11:35:13 PM »

Thanks for the replies. I agree that this must be some kind of cellulose fiber. I finished dyeing it, let it dry, and the "silk" is BRIGHT WHITE. This vendor is bad news and I'm glad I don't buy from him anymore. It's kinda funny that although I decided that long ago, I keep finding new reasons every time I pull his stuff out of my stash to work with it. I keep having to spin it and give it away to my friends cause I don't want to sell mystery fiber handspun on my website! :-)  Oh well, my friends will be happy for more mystery handspun.
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2007 08:52:48 PM »

I too know what I am doing, when it comes to acid dyeing protien fibres, or so I had thought.  But just yesterday, I completely failled to dye a silk hankie.  I am 100% sure it was silk, real silk.  I bought it from my local fibre arts guild, so I know they are trustworthy.  As I have never dyed a hankie before I was cautious.  I pre-soaked longer than usual and I steamed longer than usual.  I was unable to get a clear rinse, so I wrapped up my silk again and gave it a good long (albeit careful) cook in the microwave.  Again, it would not rinse clear and I was loosing a lot of dye by this stage.  I started out with black, red and undyed white.  By now I had blue, lighter red and pink (it was pretty and I was willing to let it stand that way).  I gave it another microwave cooking, longer again but this time submerged in water rather than in a plastic wrap packet as I was concerned about damaging the fibres.  Also this time I added extra acid as I was sure it had all been rinsed away by this stage.  Again, rinsing just removed more colour.  I decided to try washing instead of just rinsing, to see if any colour had taken at all by trying to remove what had not taken once and for all.  I did that by soaking in a fresh water that had a small amount of soap in for about half an hour and then rinsing.  I did that half a dozen times and each time a heap of dye came out.  What I now have is a pastel pink hanky with 2 mauve corners  Cry  Huh  I find it interesting that the dye that is left is quite evenly distributed, no patchiness.  Also, I am quite certain that if I continued with the washing and or rinsing I would achieve a perfectly white hankie.
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OneSheepHill
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2007 11:26:29 AM »

This is so weird. There's so many different types of processing that fiber goes through, I wonder if there's some kind of processing that makes some silk resistant to acid dyes. It's good to know this is happening to someone else... although my "silk" didn't take even the remotest amount of dye so I still think my supplier is lying. :-)
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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2007 03:10:49 AM »

Miss Vicki: What dyes were you using?
Were you using koolaid wiltons or any other food coloring based dye?

I've found that bombyx silk doesn't really take food coloring all that well. Tussah soaks up food coloring, but both silks however can't seem to hold on to it and bleed like no tomorrow in the wash.
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« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2007 07:35:39 PM »

yup it was food based.  I don't know exactly what type of silk goes into hankies, bombyx I guess.
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« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2007 07:39:36 PM »

I would tend to agree with your assumption that this might be a celulose silk, perhaps soy silk??
  I heard soy silk was a protien based one not a celulose, and should therefore be fine to acid dye.  Can anyone confirm this?
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2007 07:23:22 AM »

I would tend to agree with your assumption that this might be a celulose silk, perhaps soy silk??
  I heard soy silk was a protien based one not a celulose, and should therefore be fine to acid dye.  Can anyone confirm this?
Soy silk can be dyed with acid dyes since it is a protien based fiber.

Miss Vicki, silk hankies do not take dye as well as wool fiber does. I soak mine in a 2/1 water/vinegar solution then dye with commercial acid dye and heat set it for 10-15 minutes at a very low heat. Even then it is damn near impossible to get true colors that don't bleed into a lighter color. If you want a dark color you will need to go several shades darker then the final color you want.
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