Thursday, April 27, 2017

Tortured Napkins

If there was an Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Vintage Napkins, I would be in big trouble, even though it all turned our OK in the end.

Here's my story and I'm sticking to it:

You may remember that I did some snow dyeing before I went to Florida and I was thrilled with the results. I dyed a dozen cotton damask napkins to go with a certain table cloth.

This purchased linen-like tablecloth is actually a large patchwork. The center, which covers most of the table top has this blue background. The other patches which are at the corners and edges are a soft pink and beige background. The napkins picked up all the colors. However I decided that I would like some luncheon size in the same colors.

I had been given some beautiful linen luncheon sized napkins and was looking forward to dyeing them when I got home from La La Land. I had saved the names of the colors and used the same dyes for this set of twelve. When I did the cotton damask ones I was quite distressed when I took them out of the dye. They were a very dark red. But it all washed out and I got the luscious pastels you see above. You can see more of them here.

So when I took the linen napkins out of the dye and they were a dark red, I didn't worry. I figured it would wash out like the first batch. Wrong! Apparently linen grabs the dye better than cotton.

Here are the two napkins side by side.

I took them to my FiberWorks meeting and they all liked them and said I  should keep them and perhaps use them in an art piece. But I wanted pastel napkins and here is where the "torture" begins.

I bought two packages of Rit color remover, all done in the washing machine on hot water with a 30 minute setting. I did this twice and go the results below.

Not too bad, but  a little too beige. I over dyed them with Rit dye, Petal Pink. I could have sworn that I took a picture of the results, but they are nowhere to be found. Trust me, they were the most bilious shade of pink. So back to the grocery store to get more boxes of color remover, two more times through the wash and I was back to where they were before the pink dyeing. Not too bad, but I wanted them lighter.

Soooooo, I put them in with a bunch of cleaning rags left by the cleaning girls and added a cup of bleach. Voila! Success!  They were a much better color.

I used them for a FiberWorks meeting at my house with aforementioned table cloth and I thought they looked terrific. Should have taken a picture, but didn't. This whole ordeal is a testament to how very sturdy these napkins are. They are certainly none the worse for the wear.

Lesson learned: Linen and cotton take dye differently. I do have some more linen napkins, but I plan to dye them shibori style with dark blue dye. 

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.


Regina B Dunn said...

Ah yes, dyes can be somewhat unpredictable as I'm learning trying to get specific hues that I have in mind. You did a great job getting the results you wanted.

Madalene Axford Murphy said...

I admire your persistence! But you got good results. I also appreciate your heads up on how linen takes dye since I am contemplating using some this summer.

Deb Thuman said...

I love dying fabric that has more than one fabric type because of the intriguing results I get.

Sarah said...

10 out of 10 for your perseverance! Nice results though.

LA Paylor said...

you sure had a vision quest! they look beautiful, and must be strong to withstand all the chemicals. I know my grandmother washed clothes out in a cauldron of boiling water and harsh soap. After the clothes were worn out she made quilts so fibers can be strong