Home » The Basic Recipe for Silk

1. Clean the silk for mordanting and dyeing

  • Determine the dry weight of the fiber. This is WOF.
  • Soak the silk in a weak, warm soap solution (such as Marseille soap, olive oil soap, Orvus paste, etc.) at 60ºC/140ºF for 1 hour.
  • Rinse well in warm water.

2. Mordanting with Symplocos

  • Weigh out an amount of Symplocos equal to half the weight of the fiber or 50% WOF.
  • Boil the Symplocos in soft water for 30 minutes, until the Symplocos sinks to the bottom of the pot.
  • You may filter this liquid, if you are using yarn. If you are mordanting cloth, it is not necessary to filter, since it is easy to remove the Symplocos particles from the cloth later, by rinsing.
  • Soak the silk in the Symplocos liquid for at least 30 minutes at 80ºC (176ºF).
  • Rinse the silk in warm water. When rinsed, your fiber will be a pale shade of yellow. This yellow color tells you that the fiber has been successfully mordanted by the Symplocos. The yellow will disappear after dyeing and will not influence the final color.
  • At this point, you can dry and store the fiber for dyeing later, or you can proceed to dyeing the fiber.

2. Dyeing prosess

  • Now your fiber is ready to dye! All mordant dyes are usable with this process.
  • With dried dye materials use 100% WOF.
  • For most concentrated dye extracts use 10% WOF.
  • The exception is logwood extract, of which much less can be used: between 5% for dark shades and 1% for light shades.
  • Soak the dyestuff for 30 minutes in warm water at 30ºC (86ºF).
  • Add the fiber to the dye bath.
  • Raise the temperature slowly, over the course of 1 hour, to 85ºC (185ºF).
  • Maintain the temperature at 85ºC for 30 – 60 minutes in order to develop the color completely. Do not boil.
  • Let the fiber cool in the dye bath.
  • Rinse in warm water.

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