Colour theory, tips and information about using dyes.
Crock Pot Dyes
How to dye yarn in a slow cooker.
Natural Dye Plants
Natural dye plants that you can pick in the wild or grow in your garden, with recipes for making the dyes.
How-to information and dye recipes for using natural and vegetable dyes and mordants.
Dyes and Mordants
A table of recipes for natural dyes and mordants.
More natural dye recipes, sandalwood, osage orange, brazilwood, logwood.
How to make a painted warp.
Take this fun test and see how colour affects you today.
Dyer’s walks through the woods and wildflowers.
Dye lessons used in the classroom.
Linda shows us her colourful kool-aid dyed mittens.
How to Make a DyeBox
Stay safe and make a dye box to contain potential dye spills.
Print Making and Stenciling
A printmaking workshop using natural dyes in Finland.
Information about and sources for synthetic dyes of all types, from Kool-aid, acid, Procion and other dyes for colouring wools, cottons and synthetics.
One type of silk that is available is a “mawata” or silk cap. Mawata caps are formed by stretching the silk cocoons over molds. Each cap weighs about 1/2 ounce. About 25 cocoons are stretched on the mold and then sold as a “bell”.
If you purchase a bell, separate the number of caps that you need for a particular project. Silk caps dye very easily, however they must be thoroughly wet before the silk can absorb the dye. Soak the caps in water for several hours.
I used a CIBA acid based dye for wool yarn and other protein-based fibers. Gaywool dyes will also work well for this project. After the caps were thoroughly wet, I dotted small amounts of the dry dye substance – magenta and cyan onto some of the caps. With the other caps, I used Worker Red and Polar (yellow). I had two dye baths going with hot water and a bit of vinegar. I placed the caps into the water and let them cook for about 20 minutes. In the dye bath, the colours blended with each other giving wonderful ranges of purples and oranges, respectively.
I rinsed the excess dye out in cold water and then hung the caps up to dry.
Silk is a very strong fiber. If you are not careful with handling, your fingers can be cut quite easily. I use surgical gloves when I am spinning or trying to work the fibers apart.
The cap can be pulled apart and a thin roving can be drafted from it. Pull the cap apart into thin layers. Then pull it slowly apart working a small hole into the centre of the cap and stretch it into a doughnut shape. Place this doughnut onto an umbrella swift (you probably won’t be able to open the umbrella out much).
Then try to find a loose thread on the edge of the cap that you can begin to draft from. The strands of silk fiber will start to unravel. This will take quite a bit of pulling and stretching. Sometimes the strands will be quite thin and sometimes thicker. Try to even out the consistency somewhat. I find that used toilet paper rolls are handy for winding the silk onto.
When the silk is wound into the roving, it can then be spun into silk yarn. The silk roving can be woven into fabric or used as is, but I have found that giving it a slight twist with the spinning wheel makes the fiber easier to handle when it is wound onto the bobbin for weaving.
I used the silk to weave some silk wallets. If you’ve worked with silk caps, tell us about your project at our Discussion Forum.