Yarn painting and silk

This Christmas, I treated myself to a rather sizeable delivery from World of Wool, including over half a kilo of lovely, mulberry silk. Unfortunately, I’ve not had much time to do much other than admire the packet but this weekend I fancied doing something a little less regimented than needlework and thought I’d have a go at some yarn painting.

No such thing as too much silk!

One issue I’ve had with some of the yarn painting I’ve done is that the colours don’t always look as saturated or intense when the yarn is dry as they do during the dyeing process. I dyed the silk below using mostly greens with some black and mid-blues mixed in as well. Apparently adding a few drops of black can help the colours look more intense.

Dyed silk top

Although it looked more of a dark emerald green while wet, this batch of fibre ended up looking rather different than expected. It’s a lot less variegated than I would typically go for, but there are some subtle variations in the colour and some flecks of black and white as well, which add a bit of interest. It wasn’t the colour I was aiming for but I love it all the same.


I use Kemtex acid dyes which are produced by a UK-based company with absolutely excellent products and customer service. I tend to order over the phone from them and they are great about sharing advice and customising kits and quantities so you end up with just what you need. The information booklets are very detailed and make handy reference guides too.

The dyes seemed to be fixing well, with little colour loss in the rinsing, and I’ve used them in the past with no problems, so I wanted to see if opening up the silk fibres more before dyeing would help get the colour saturation I wanted.


Whilst the fibre was easy enough to handle dry, I was wary of opening the silk too much as I assumed, when it was wet, it had the potential to become a soggy mess and I didn’t want to break the top into too short lengths.

I had a vague colour scheme in mind before I started but it quickly went out the windows when I started flinging dye all over the kitchen. I ended up splitting the 75 g into four smaller batches and going for different colour schemes for each.

A nice colourful mess

The colours look good so far. The yellow in particular (which is mostly unmixed Kemtex Yellow) is really vibrant and has blended in places with the red and green sections really well. It took a lot of dye to get the red as intense as I wanted and it seems to have held during the rinsing process so hopefully it won’t lighten too much.

We’ll see what it looks like when it’s dry!

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