alter ego, the full story

Experiment 1: Stovetop dyeing of veils and cut velvet bags using Procion MX dyes. Batch 1 was Peacock Blue, Batch 2 was Emerald Green. This was sort of two experiments in one. First of all I wanted to know whether I could get an even color on a 3-yd veil on the stove with Procion MX. The blue is not that great. It’s not even enough, although I stirred quite often. For the green I
added 600 ml more water to the bath to improve the “swim freely” aspect, and the result is better, but it’s just not as good an even color as with the Jacquard silk dyes. Brilliant colors though.

The other part of the experiment was the devore velvet zipper bags. I bought about ten bags in two sizes (sort of index-card-size and steno-pad-size) to dye up for the March 10 vending op at the UW Bellydance workshop. (They’d be great for finger cymbals.) The interesting thing about their fabric is that the backing fabric is silk and the pile is rayon. This means they pick up dye differently, so dyeing them in one color produces interesting tonal qualities. These turned out quite prettily.

Experiment 2 was with Alter Ego dyes. Alter Ego dyes are from a French company who have isolated a silk dye that is not much picked up by rayon and a rayon dye that is not much picked up by silk. You put these in a pot with water, vinegar, fixative, and salt (it’s rather like doing very strange baking), throw in your devore velvet, and voila! The pile is one color and the backing is a totally different color. I did dark blue on a yellow back and red on a yellow back. They are extremely cool, I must say! If the little bags sell at the workshop, I will definitely dye up more with this stuff.

Major, major drawback, however: the starter kit comes with silk colors of yellow, red, and turquoise, and rayon colors of yellow, red, and dark blue. While I do want to make a shot of mixing them (I want to try purple on red or vice versa, for example), there’s no black! I think you could get some GORGEOUS effects with black pile designs on a colored background. I looked up to see how much a bottle of black would cost me: $18!! Geez. Just not sure if I want to drop that kind of money.

If you want to see what these cool little bags look like, go here:
There’s even a picture of a dyed one. I hope to have photos up here soon.


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