Steaming silk in a bamboo steamer

Friday, December 18, 2009

Over the weekend I popped over to Natalie's place with my bamboo steamer under my arm :-)

Natalie's a friend of mine, and had attended one of my silk painting workshops in Sydney. I'd promised I would come visit when she was ready, and show her how to do the steaming.




What's required:

  • a bamboo steamer - mine is 12" across
  • a large pot or wok to balance the steamer on
  • some old white cotton sheeting to wrap the silk in (must be white)
  • a timer
What we did:

  • filled the saucepan about 4" deep with water and put it on to boil
  • we lay the cotton sheeting (about a metre) on the table 
  • next we lay the small silk scarves on the cotton
  • we made sure none of the silk was touching any other piece of silk
  • we carefully rolled up the fabric into a sausage shape
  • we then coiled the sausage shap around in a circle shape so it would fit inside the steamer
  • I lined the steamer with an old white pillow case (to protect from splashes of boiling water)
  • next we rested the the curled sausage shape into the steamer and put the lid on
As soon as the water was boiling, we carefully placed the steamer on top of the saucepan.

We set the timer for 20 mins, and then checked every 20 minutes in case we needed to top up the water - this will depend on the size of saucepan or wok, and the amount of water you put in.

It was a very small bundle of steaming so we let it steam for 1 hour. If you have more silk, you need to steam for 2 or 3 hours.

After the steaming is done ...

After about 10 minutes we unwrapped the silk and lay it out to rest, to give the dyes time to settle overnight.




Wash the silk - but never never never SOAK!


The next day Natalie put the silk pieces into a zippered lingerie bag into the washing machine, and used mild soap powder on the lingerie cycle.

As soon as the silk is finished washing, hang up in the shade - never in the sun.

When the silk is almost dry (very slightly damp) you can iron with a hot iron. This ensures there will be no wrinkles, and the silk will continue to feel soft and supple.

We had faaabulous fun and I'm looking forward to seeing the photos :D

Cheers
Teena!

2 comments:

altheap 1:15 AM  

This is great! I've got in the habit of putting the bottom of my bamboo steamer on cans in a tall stock pot, but your way will be great for smaller items. Thanks for the information!

Abfab Art Studio 8:54 AM  

Hey Althea,

Thanks for dropping by! I'm so pleased my instructions offered some insight for you. Your method will also help other readers too.

Necessity is the mother of invention :-)

It's amazing what we come up with when we need to!

Cheers
Teena
http://abfabdesigns.com

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