Mystery solved - I think!

Teena, I think you've helped me hit the nail on the head - a bad batch of green dye (in my case it wasn't old though). Your comment jogged my memory - some years ago I had a bottle of green dye go goopy on me and wash out after steaming (again it wasn't that old). It was a similar shade to my present one so that makes me suspiscious. Unfortunately I no longer have the original bottles but I think they were Tinfix Verona - other silk painters beware of that color! I rarely use the color that comes out of the bottle as is, I mix other colors with it. This time I did use it unmixed. On my re-do, since I was running out of the original green, I added blue and yellow to it and it steamed just fine (whew!) - I'm thinking the other colors must stabilize the bad green. This makes sense as untli now, I've gone through the whole bottle without a problem - because I've mixed it with other colors. I won't be buying Verona again anytime soon!

These are pix of the mishaps, which on second look really aren't THAT bad. The red and about half of the green is still there and like yours Teena, most of the lines and textures that the dyes formed have disappeared. I'm thinking of making these into mini-quilts, putting the design back in with stitching and who knows what else. Or using in a collage. Nothing is a lost cause.

Ellen, I do use a large canning pot for steaming, with no more than 1" of water. I stack 2 of those folding veggie steamers with little legs in the bottom (for extra height), followed by about 2" of newsprint. I enclose my rolled silk packet in a brown paper bag or heavy kraft paper for extra insurance, and top it off with a piece of foil. A towel draped over the pot before you put the lid on catches condensation from the lid. I weight the lid with 2 dumbells on top to minimise steam escaping. Apart from the above incidents, which I'm sure were dye-related and not steam-related, I've never had a problem. Go for it!