Reunion Favors

by Hillary


About a month before my aunts came to visit for a few days this May, Mom asked me to make gifts for them in the form of silk scarves.

Sarah adds: To set the stage: this reunion was a gathering of our Dad’s siblings–four sisters and a brother with most of their assorted spouses (this year we had eleven out of twelve attending). We hosted this time (I say we, because I was roped into helping without any sort of official invitation)–in two years it will happen again, closer to the home of another sibling. The grandchildren (my generation) are not invited–not anymore. Does that sound bitter? It wasn’t trying to be. Personally, I don’t know why Mom is hovering over my shoulder making me type this when she could do it herself. Back to Hillary:

I learned how to hand paint silk scarves last year and found that it was very fun, and had been wanting for a chance to do it again. Having already gotten the materials (a Christmas present), what I really needed was a push to get started. This was a “Push” with a capital-P.

Painting silk scarves is a long process. You have to wash the scarf to remove the sizing. You have to iron it to get the wrinkles out. Then you have to stretch it on a frame.


Put a resist on the scarf of your own choosing. Then it takes one to two hours to actually paint the scarf. After it dries, you take the scarf off the frame and let the dye set for about 24 hours. After that, you very, very carefully steam each scarf for an hour and half to keep the scarf from being ruined. Then they need one final ironing before they are picture-worthy.

As I’ve said before, I really do love this form of painting, even though each scarf takes about 2 days, most of which is preparation and wait time. The dye behaves almost like a watercolor but does not lend itself to layering as the silk can only soak in so much dye. This skill is truly a proof of the saying: a little (dye) goes a long way.

The aunts were very happy with their favors.

Yes. Happy campers:



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