The scarf story
November 20, 2013 at 6:06 PM
We spend a lot of time worrying about the materials and processes we're using to create our knitwear. As in cooking, we aim to start with the best ingredients - and we want those to be as non-toxic and harmless as possible.
While our mill organically dyes our yarns for us, we were struggling to find the printed silk fabric necessary to bring the classic opera scarf to life... so we decided to print it ourselves. This presented a whole new set of problems - how to print on silk while retaining the soft handle of the fabric? Could we use resists, dyes or discharges?
After inhaling the sulphurous odour of some unpleasant discharge chemicals, we decided to go our own way and print using naturally derived plant dyes and traditional dyeing techniques. We cooked up some ink on the stovetop using a randomly derived recipe of water, dye extracts, cornstarch and gum arabic. We used a (not too traditional) woad vat to dye some fabric for overprinting. We used seaweed extracts as a resist.
The resulting prints are boldly patterned with vibrant natural colours - perfectly in tune with the organic yarn colours. Each hand-printed scarf takes the natural ink and dye in it's own way, introducing subtle variations to the paisley rhythm.