Dyeing Silk Hankies–and how World Cup is invading my life

These past few days I’ve embarked on a new dyeing/spinning project, dyeing silk hankies or mahwata. If you want to know a bit more about mahwata and how they are made, check out this site, which has an explanation of and tutorial for silk mahwatas (warning-it does contain pictures of dead silkworms).

In terms of dyeing, silk hankies are actually pretty simple: you soak them, pour dye on them, and set the dye using the method of your choice (stove, oven, or microwave.). Personally, I prefer using the oven, but it can get tricky because you have to keep the temperate pretty low (under 180 degrees F), which can be difficult for some less sensitive ovens. I had to spend much of yesterday turning the oven on and off to keep it at the right temperature–argh! However, the result can be beautiful. Here’s how mine came out:



I was actually hoping for a more nature-y, forest and field kind of look, but they ended up looking very much like the Brazilian World Cup uniforms (and logo). So I’m thinking of naming this color way “Brasilia.”


Here’s what it looks like drafted and waiting to be spun:


And here’s what it looks like spun on the spindle:



I don’t have a picture of it in a skein yet, because I haven’t spun enough yet (watching World Cup while spinning does tend to slow me down). But the awesomeness of soccer makes up for it!

P.S. For a nice tutorial on how to spin silk hankies, check out this article on Knitty.com