Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"I'm learning to dye, but I ain't got wings"

As if I need another hobby!

I've recently started learning how to dye silk. Most belly dancers prefer to dance with silk veils and most of us can be downright picky about the size, weight, color and style of them.

During my veil class with Deirdre, it became clear that my veil collection wasn't up to snuff. I was using a performance veil and it snagged and now has a hole. Oh noes! So I needed to up my collection and Deirdre let us know that we could get simple, white practice veils for only $10 at Dharma Trading Co. And that just got me thinking...

You see I am cheap and I like to try new things. While I think veil vendors totally charge the right amount of money for their silks and I am happy to support their business, I just needed a few to play around with. But a boring white veil won't satisfy me.

So I dropped $90 buying 5 plain veils in different sizes, shapes and weights, in addition to a dyeing starter kit and extra colors. I didn't really know what I wanted to do, but had a rough ideas of colors and costumes that needed matching.

I enlisted the help of Deirdre and Vashti of Madison, WI to help. I set off to the dollar store to buy all of my supplies and I was ready to go!

My partner won't let me dye in the house, so I was outside with a hose, some buckets and my stereo. I hula hooped while I was waiting around and I enjoyed the view of the lake and the lovely (and hot!) weather.

So here are the results from my first round:
1st attempt at low-H20 immersion
My first attempt at low-water immersion. This was supposed to be bright orange, fuchsia and yellow, but it didn't really work out that way. It's orange with some yellow splotches and I have since then tried to dye it a solid color. Did it work? No.

2nd attempt at low-H20 Immersion
Here's my second attempt at low water immersion and this turned out better, but it has some white spots from where the dye didn't penetrate. This is my favorite practice veil.

Not pictured: I made a bright red circular veil in a bucket, which I learned you can also do in a washing machine.

My second attempt yielded somewhat better results:
My first attempt at ombre dyeing and despite the fact the colors aren't deep enough, I am pleased with how these turned out. Now, I'd better learn double veil!

Washing machine
My first attempt at washing machine dyeing was success. The picture doesn't do this one justice, because this is a beautiful shade of gold in real life.

3rd attempt at low0H20 Immersion
Here's my third attempt at low-water immersion. I think I just need to find some suitable containers. Notice the big square blob in the center? Guess what shape my container was.

Lastly, I tried a new technique: Microwave dyeing! I defied the beau's preferences and dyed in the kitchen (and thanks to Vashti, I now know you can use Magic Erasers to clean up spills). I'm a rebel. ;)


I made this one to match my newly arrived Pharanoics butterfly, although I should have used less navy and more turquoise. I thought this project was super fun and I think it's just because I like being in the AC. I folded it in an elaborate accordion (and this is a 4-yarder) and placed it in a plastic shoe box and nuked it for like ever.

Read that last sentence again. Yeah, that's why I will never be a professional veil maker. I don't pay attention to details and I'm not good at being precise with measurements or timing or anything like that. This is also why I don't bake. However I can go to town on tedious beading, so go figure.

Veil and dyeing resources:
A good day to dye -
Shibori Borealis -
Akai Silks -
Paula Burch -

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