~ A brief history of silk and how it is made can be found here.
~ A little tutorial on the many ways you can wear a scarf is here.
~ Some clarification of terms...the 8mm "habotai silk" I use for scarves is a very light and slightly transparent silk. It is suitable to wear all year round. It is often referred to as "China silk". The "charmeuse", also 100% silk, is a slightly heavier weight, a little more drape-y, a little less transparent, and more suitable to wear when it's cooler weather. It has one side that is shinier (think satin) than the other. All of the silks just get better and softer with age. I have silk scarves that are many decades old that I wear every year. They are like old, reliable friends!
~ Caring for your scarf is easy. Every once in a while wash it in warm water with some mild detergent, like Woolite®, and hang it up to dry. You can iron it while it's still a little damp or if it dries before you can get to it, spritz it with water, or use the steam setting on your iron. Voila, it's just like new!
~ Because silk has amazing thermal properties, its weight vs. warmth ratio can be deceiving...it doesn't have to be bulky to be warm.
The difference between painting fabric and dying fabric...
There are two basic categories of colorants for fabrics: dyes and paints. Fabric dyes are for natural fibers; cellulose and proteins such as cottons, rayons, hemps, tencels, silks, wools, feathers, etc. Dyes produce more brilliant colors than paints and require chemicals or steaming to set. They actually chemically bond with the fibers and, as a result, leave no stiffness whatsoever on the fabric. They are more complex to work with than fabric paints and call for more caution in handling. Fabric paints are pigments suspended in an acrylic medium. They can be used on all natural fibers and most synthetics. They are heat-set with an iron to make them permanent. Fabric paints actually lay on top of the fibers and as a result, they do stiffen the fabric somewhat but it is less noticeable on heavier fabrics than on lighter ones.
~ I use only high-quality dyes to create my designs on silk for the best luminosity of color and to maintain the beautiful softness of the silk. The dyes are set with steam for several hours to make them permanent. Occasionally, I will use a small bit of paint or a specialty marker to embellish the design.
~ To create a beautiful, hand-dyed silk scarf is a multi-step process that takes several days.
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