Setback! New Steamer isn’t so great….

Silk bundle inside steamerI’ve used this steamer for years- it is coated in teflon, and the inside bottom is scratched and therefore compromised, so I took it from kitchen use and devoted it to studio use.    However, if you let teflon pans boil dry they can release a toxic fume.  Well, I let this one boil dry- it did smell TERRIBLE and I think it made some smoke.  I quickly aired out the house, but decided then and there to get another steamer.

Here’s the new one!  But- I found it doesn’t work as easily as my old one!  And… found out the hard way…

New SteamerAfter steaming my three Winter Tree Series paintings , I found that I had areas that washed out, faded areas, fugitive dyes,and  dye transfers.  Wow.  I rarely had any of these problems before.

I think that the new steamer has more problems with condensation- and also the lighter inside of the pot may not keep the environment as hot.  I’m working now to save these paintings…



4 responses to “Setback! New Steamer isn’t so great….

  1. Oh, I loved those trees! I hope you can save them.

  2. can you describe your steamer in details please? because I’ve been trying to make a home made steamer for my silks but i don’t quite understand the parts and process, all i can see is a pot and this piece in side with holes (i have the same piece in my kitchen and i really don’t know what it’s used for 😀 )

    • Arwa,
      Thank you for your comment. As far as my steamer, I use a large soup pot with a lid. Inside I have a veggie steamer- I put it inside to form a steam-permeable shelf which holds my bundle of silk.

      My process is pretty simple. I set the steamer on the stove and put about 2-3 inches of water in the bottom. Next I put in a wide can (saved from some food use) which has both ends removed. This sits inside on the bottom and holds the veggie steamer. The reason for the can is to hold the veggie steamer up high enough over the steaming and perhaps boiling water, so no water will splash through the holes of the veggie steamer and wet the silk bundle. The veggie steamer itself has tiny legs that are too short to be useful here. So, after balancing this contraption and getting it all set up, I put the bundle of silk on top, making sure that it does not touch the sides or it will draw moisture into itself.

      I put the lid on the pot and heat the water to boiling. After it gets started well, I turn down the heat and let the steam gently continue for about forty minutes. I know if I fill the pot to my usual level, I won’t boil it dry during this time, and with the size of the can holding up the veggie steamer, it won’t splash too wildly and wet the silk while steaming.

      For the exact time to steam set your silk, check your silk dye supplier’s directions. I use DuPont, and have always found this time to be adequate.

      When I am done, I take the lid off and let it cool for a while, and then use tongs to remove the bundle. And the bundle itself will hold steam for longer, so be careful unwrapping it because it can burn. And now the colors are vibrant and wonderful! I wash out the silk in the sink, to get rid of the overdye, or magic sizing if I used it, and the water soluble gutta that I use. Then I finish with a water and vinegar rinse, to bring out the shine.

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