Sunday, March 13, 2016

Three Hand-dyed and Painted Silk Scarves

     Although I have enjoyed making 22" x 22" square scarves (earlier scarf posts here), I wanted to make long scarves even more. However, it took awhile until I had room for the long stretching frame required to work on them. Here are the first to be completely finished; each measures 11" x 60". 

     Each one was an experiment, as I am still a learner in this art form. The yellow and dark blue scarf was free-painted with no resist to separate areas of color from one another. I first painted the entire scarf deep yellow, let it dry, and then lightly sketched the lattice design in water soluble fabric pencil before painting several layers of deep blue dye in all pattern areas.

     Gutta resist defined the patterns on the other two. The brown, turquoise, and blue color-block scarf first got a coat of very light (watered down) brown overall. Once it was dry, I used a water soluble fabric pencil to mark off the areas according to a scale model design I had sketched out ahead of time. I followed the lines with gutta resist, applied fairly thickly, and let that dry well. Finally, several layers of each color filled the blocks according to my plan. I am pleased with the design and plan to make it again in different colors, maybe pink, rose, blue, and purple.

     The flower design began differently with free-form flowers brushed on the white scarf. Then, I outlined the designs with gutta, staying mostly on the edges of dyed areas to avoid all-white outlines. I deepened the colors within the lines and added a few extra details in the petals and centers. The blue and green background was the last step and gave me fits because of some wayward drips and streaks. Once dye is on the silk, it is there to stay--virtually impossible to remove without streaking the areas around it. So, I gathered up my courage and tried brushing on just water to blend everything, adding just a bit of dye to vary and blend the background colors. Whew! It turned out pretty well compared to the earlier unsightly spots.

     If readers are interested, I will post more in the future about the various finishing steps involved in steam-setting the French dye colors, removing the sticky gutta, washing and ironing the completed scarves.

Question of the day: Do you enjoy experimenting with new crafts or art forms--even the painful parts of watching things go wrong and learning from the process?


  1. These are beautiful, you have found a great art form and it is treating you well! Lovely.

  2. Thank you so much, Jo. I am learning a lot, am enjoying myself, and very often am pleased with the results. What more would anyone ask for? Creative projects are really fun.