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Soak and Steam Techniques

So, yesterday I was talking to you about making an inexpensive steamer set up, and today I have had more thoughts on the processes used. At the point that you are ready to finish your masterpiece, the reason to presoak in vinegar is twofold. The vinegar neutralizes any caustic processes that have preceded it (like using soda ash in the dye process). This is very beneficial in that it will prevent damage to the silk! The vinegar also plays an important part in setting the color and pleating of arashi shibori. Make sure to presoak the piece in straight white vinegar for 15 - 20 minutes. Use a clean towel to remove excess, and put the pipe into the steamer while still wet, after a good head of steam is going in the pot. I am currently using an electric burner that I keep on high while steaming. Another point I want to make is that when I was learning the how-to process, I was confused about whether to steam the piece dry or wet because gathered information was either conflicting or ambiguous. If the piece is dried first, the drops in the steam can water spot and ruin your masterpiece!! If the piece is still wet when you introduce it, that is not an issue, and you do not have to cover the silk on the pole in any way. Just stick it in the pot and let the magic happen!!! When you feel the piece is finished, wrap the hot pipe in another clean towel and roll it, using your weight as leverage, until it feels like it is just damp. This will help to set the pleating and make the drying process advance much faster. You can stand the pipe in front of a fan if you like, until it is bone dry. Only then can you remove the piece from the pipe and see the final result.

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