- learn a few handstitched shibori techniques
- use black fabrics and discharge rather than dye the samples
- compare different fabrics so I'd know which ones would be worth exploring further and which to drop from consideration for future projects
I also tied up two samples using black cotton gauze but they didn't discharge at all. And a piece of old black cotton jersey T-shirt didn't turn out great, although a different pattern, I'm sure, would have worked better on that fabric.
I immersion discharged with thiox, and some interesting things happened. Although the samples looked in the pot under the liquid like all the color had discharged out, when exposed to air, they oxidized and the colors got dark again. I did the entire process twice, and a bit more black came out but still the samples darkened after coming out of the pot. In this way it was much like dyeing with indigo -- thiox and soda ash are major components of the indigo process anyway -- when you lift your fiber, yarn or fabric out of the pot and it's a pale green, then it turns blue with oxidation.
I was surprised that the black raw silk didn't discharge more. I also found it very interesting that the areas that discharged most completely were ones that were inside the bindings, pleats or gathers, less exposed to the chemicals.
At any rate, I loved the process, glad I finally learned some shibori techniques, and have a ton of ideas to try out on my handwoven fabrics. So I'd say it was a great success!