Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sock yarn on the inkle loom, and silk painting ties

I got in my next order of silk scarf blanks from Dharma Trading company the other day. Today I got around to pre-washing them. I now have two dozen bits of possibility hanging in my studio window, just waiting for me to pull out the colors. It is going to be a fun several weeks getting those painted up! I ordered some earth toned dyes this time, to expand the look of the scarves. We'll see how those work up.

I also picked up a couple of silk tie blanks. They can't be used with the Tinfix dyes I use for the scarves, since the ties are dry clean only and can't be steamed. But I had some older Dye-na-flow dyes that are heat set, so I decided to give those a try. It worked fairly well, but the Dye-na-flow didn't react very well to the watercolor technique of using coarse salt on the drying silk. I get some speckling, but not the cool organic shapes that I get on the scarves.

The Dye-na-flow needs to be ironed for about 3 minutes to heat set the dyes. That is 3 minutes per section. It took me about a half hour to completely iron the tie front and back.

However, the results look kind of cool. I think this needs some more experimentation. Dharma has another brand of heat set silk paints called Setasilk. Those paints reportedly respond well to the salt technique. I think next time I make an order I'll get a batch of those, and another handful of ties to play with.

What do you think? My guys all said they would wear something like this. They would need to be priced between $35 and $40 to cover everything involved. Also, what size ties do you or your menfolk wear? 2"? 3"? 4"?

On another note, I got the sock yarn band off of my inkle loom. This is woven of Regia Galaxy sock yarn. I still need some work on the evenness of my selvedge edges, but that will come with more practice. I tossed it in the wash and then the dryer, and ironed it smooth afterward. I lost about a foot of length in the washing process. Overall, I'm happy with the way this turned out. I like the variegated effect.

However, I was curious...what would happen if I lined up the repeats for the color variegation? I found that with commercial sock yarns the repeats were really too long for my little inkle loom. I'll have to try that trick on my bigger floor loom later on. However, I did have some sock yarn that I hand dyed awhile ago. In fact, it was left over from this project: http://tangibledaydreams.blogspot.com/2009/11/tutorial-dyeing-sock-yarn.html . The repeats were almost short enough to line up on the loom. I knotted the extra, and I was set to go.
Doesn't that look lovely?
I started weaving and, sure enough, the gradual variegation is coming through nicely in the weaving process. This particular sock yarn is a little stretchier than the Regia, but I'm able to compensate for that by holding on to the warp by the heddles while I tamp things down into place with the shuttle. I'm looking forward to seeing how this one turns out. I think it will be lovely.


  1. I really like the new inkle project where you've lined up the color repeats! Love it!

  2. I'm thinking of dyeing up a batch of yarn on purpose for the inkle loom. I'd need to wind the warp right on the loom to get the right length, tie it for dyeing, pull it off the loom, space dye it, ball it back up, and put it back on the loom. I think I'd get some shifting of color, but I like that feathering effect. Maybe a dye retreat project?

  3. the tie is just gorgeous i love it. hey have you ever dyed veils for belly dancers?

  4. How pretty! It must be a little like playing with paint on canvas. I bet you're having fun!

  5. Cool tie! It looks both Van Gogh sky and oceanic at the same time! Your weaving looks marvelous too!I have always wanted to try since I was little and read the Laura Ingalls Wilder book Farmer Boy where the mom had her own loom.

  6. The variegated band looks cool. I did something like that with a commercial bamboo yarn in this scarf. http://www.flickr.com/photos/aspinnerweaver/4947167792/in/set-72157617973326702
    I will have to keep a close eye on your blog. I'd love to see how that dyeing for the loom would work. I've always wanted to do something like that, but have not gotten around to dyeing anything yet. ~Annie

  7. Crunchy Diva, I haven't tried anything bigger than a scarf yet with this style of silk painting. I need to figure out how to stretch it on a frame--the ones I have aren't big enough for veils. But swaths of fabric are on the 'learn to do down the road' list, because I'd love to be able to make hand sewn garments from silk painted fabric.

    Rebecca, I'm having a blast! I love seeing how colors work together.

    Hope and Joy, I have a floor loom too, and make napkins and curtains and fabric for clothes and such. I finished up my last project on it this last January. Hmm...time to plan another one!

    Annie, I figured this post would smoke you out of the woodwork. :) I was thinking of your knotwork bands, with black for the background and the knotwork in the space dyed warp so they faded from one color to another. I think it could be spectacular. When (if) I get around to dying warps specifically for the inkle, I'll make sure I take pictures along the way. If you get there first, I'd love to see the results!

  8. Stretcher bars for artist canvas can be made any size you want.