I’ve been busy painting new scarves for the season as there’s a couple of craft fairs coming up. The steamer is gently steaming away as I write this. Inside there’s a batch of seven crepe de chine scarves and it will be on the go for nearly four hours. The colours become more vibrant and the wax is removed, but more importantly the paint is fixed during the process. I took some photos of the whole process, from painting to steaming, but of course there’s more after that – washing out the excess dye (lots of rinsing) and ironing, then attaching the care instruction cards.
The scarf is suspended above the frame with headed pins that are inserted into a soft pad made of foam rubber and carpet tape.So there is a gap between this frame and the scarf, avoiding paint roll-back. After each painting the frame is wiped down and the pins washed.
I keep a record of the paint colours I use, as I might want to paint the same ones again. Any paint left over from doing a batch (usually five scarves with small changes in each) is kept in little jars to use again.
This where my lounge rug comes in useful! The scarves are rolled in lengths of cotton cloth. During steaming all the wax goes into the cloth. In the past I used the ends of rolls from newspaper printing for wrapping the scarves, but the printers all recycle these now so I can’t get them. It means I have to boil out the wax from the cotton cloths before each steaming.
Inside the steamer the metal bar is suspended above the simmering water with a foil cap placed over the roll to catch any drips from the lid. My electricity bill goes up at these times!