Archive for Hand Dyed Thread


Sea Breeze

Oh my.  It’s been so long.  So much to talk about.  I’m going to start with a piece shameless self-promotion.  I am now starting to sell hand-dyed threads!  I’ll be ramping up slowly over the next couple months.  I’m getting a new custom-made adjustable swift for making the skeins next month which will help immensely.  In the mean-time I’m winding some of smaller skeins.  I’m excited about the swift because it will let me to make very long skeins so that the color changes can be very long and gradual.  I tend to like the softer changes and so that’s what I’ll be dyeing.

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This blue and teal skein is one of a batch of only 4 skeins in Lizbeth size 20.  I love the colors and am excited about the mini-skein I saved for myself for tatting the samples.  I’m calling it Sea Breeze.

I’ll be posting a lot more threads as I make them.  I wound some size 80 and King Tut too, which I’m excited to try soon.  Any color requests?

It’s going to be a while before I have a really good system down.  Because every one of my batches is different and because I want to have a finished tatted sample to show the variations and color changes it my be slow going.  Hopefully the final products come out great.

In other news, I’ve got a new program set-up for diagraming patterns so I’m really getting going on the Priscilla project.  I’m hoping to have a couple patterns all finished out (formatted and everything) by the end of the month.  I went through the books and broke them down into what I think will make good separate volumes.  If I go with that and don’t change anything, it makes for 14 volumes.  This is going to be quite the project!  I’m excited to finally be getting on to the production portion and past the research portion.

In my personal life, I have a new bookkeeping client that’s going to end up being an additional 20 hours a week.  I’ve enjoyed the extra time I’ve had by working part-time between the CPA exams and now, but it was time for me to pick up the hours to take my bookkeeping business up to a full-time job.  I’m determined to keep making progress building a business out of Snapdragon Lace so stay-tuned for more exciting adventures in tatting!



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Thread DyeingI picked up some new dye colors and played around with them this week.   Here’s what I ended up with.  They turned out much brighter than the last few batches, which is exactly what I was going for.  I’m very excited about how the orange and teal came out.  Came out with a nice set of different shades of purple as well.  Only catch is that I never seem to use up all the thread I dye.  Guess I know what I’m giving to the tatters on my Christmas list!

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More Colors!

I was inspired last weekend to play around with dyes again.  This time I pulled out the regular bottles fabric dye and got two little tubs of colors going.  (I use old cottage cheese containers.)  The colors are actually a little brighter than they’re coming out in these pictures.  I had one tub of green going and one of blue and then at the end I added a dash of red to each of the tubs.  I thought that with those combos I would get some more brown, but I guess it was more red than I intended because I came out with some nice maroons.  One of the things that I like about dyeing thread is that I’m not actually trying to get anything specific so I’m always happy with what I get.


The thread I used was mostly all size 20 DMC.  There are a couple smaller skeins of Lizbeth size 10.  A while back I decided that there was no point in holding on to any white DMC because it wasn’t actually a true white like the snow white Lizbeth thread.  I had about nine or ten balls of it so I wound half of it into skeins and they sit in a draw in the kitchen with the dyes.  Now whenever I feel like playing around I can just grab some and go without any prep.  It’s a lot of fun.  I’ll get around to winding the rest of the DMC stuff at some point as well.


I’ll leave with a picture that I think shows a little more the variety of colors I got out of my two little tubs.  I mostly stuck to solids since that’s what I like to tat with, and did a mix of light and dark, but also did one mild variegate in each of the colors as well.  I’m looking forward to playing around with them.  First though, I’ll have to get them wound onto bobbins so they’re useable…  We’ll see when I get around to that…



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A Bit of Dyed Thread

In cleaning up my computer I found this picture of an attempt at dying thread with turmeric.  It worked out better than I expected and was pretty easy.  I used hot water and soaked it for a few minutes.  I put it in a fixer for a bit before rinsing.  I’m not super excited about the color since I prefer darker colors to the lighter colors, but it was nice to do a bit of dying with natural dyes.

After this batch I try doing a bit with beets, but it rinsed right out.  Unfortunately, I had tossed out the beet water out before I rinsed it and so couldn’t try another batch with fixer.

I wound a couple balls of DMC thread into skeins so that I’m ready to dye a few whenever the feeling hits me without it being a big production.

As I do every time I play around with dying thread I end up being more and more impressed with people like KrystleDawne and LadyShuttlemaker who make such gorgeous hand-dyed thread.  I’m always especially impressed with the consistency of their dyeing and how they’re able to do the same variation lot after lot.

I’ll keep playing around with dyeing threads occasionally, but for the most part I’m going to leave it to the expects!

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More on the Way!

Today I worked on research papers and during my breaks I wound 50 yard skeins for the next time I try dyeing thread.  It won’t be anytime soon, but I wanted to get started on the winding since that’s not too much fun.  Also, it was the perfect break for the research paper.  Tatting related, but not actually enough fun to get me so enthralled and distracted from the paper. I got through 3 balls so that’s a good start.  I’ll probably keep going and wind through all the rest of them, but it’ll take me a while, and I don’t actually know when I’ll get around to dyeing them, but at least they’ll be ready to go.

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Dye Lot #2!

A little while back reread my post about trying to dye thread with the pomegranates and it got me into the mood to try dyeing again so I finally pulled out the yellow and blue dyes and made my second batch of dyed thread, this time in green and yellow.  Mostly green and mostly size 20.  I did a few variegated skeins, but since I don’t use variegated thread much I mostly made solids.  For the most part I was just messing around and wasn’t really trying for anything in particular.  Not trying for anything in particular means that I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.  I’ll probably keep messing around with dying thread in the future though I think I’ll probably want to switch to a different dye.  This is a powder dye I got to try out but I think a liquid one would be easier to play around with and mix, though I especially like the way the yellows look.

One of the things I didn’t seem to do well was rinse out the greens.  I thought I’d gotten all the extra dye out, but as I let them dry I saw that some of the green was bleeding on to the paper towels.  So rinsed all the green again and let them soak a bit more and that seemed to take care of it without changing the colors at all.  With the blues and yellows I just held them under running water and the seemed to rinse just fine, but maybe I had more dye in the greens.

Playing around with dyeing has certainly given me more appreciation for the HDT that others make.  I can’t imagine getting to the point where I can consistently get the same color scheme from skein to skein, let alone dye batch to dye batch.  Krystle Dawne has some gorgeous ones she just finished and posted on her blog about.  I don’t usually even care for variegated threads and I’m drooling.

Playing around with the dyeing has been partly to use up a bunch of balls of DMC size 20 white.  I’ve had them for a long time and never really been happy with them because they’re really more of a slightly off-white.  If I want to tat with white, I generally want a bright white, so I figured dyeing them would be a good way to turn them into something I’d actually use.  I’ve still got another 10 or so balls left so there’s still lots of playing with dye in my future.  Unfortunately that means there’s lots of winding of skeins for dyeing first in my more near future.  Ahh well.  All part of the process.

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Pomegranate Thread

Now that the holidays are over and I’m feeling all moved and settled in Seattle I’m finding a bit more time to update here.  I’ve been busy with a bunch of different tatting projects though, so I’ve got a lot to get caught up on.  One of the things I did before leaving San Diego was to try dyeing thread with pomegranates.  I had about six that I was cutting up to get the seeds out and I use the method of putting them into water to keep them from squirting juice everywhere.  To dye the thread I just threw the skein in with the pomegranates and let it soak while I work on separating the seeds.  Every now and again I took the thread out and rolled it around on the cutting board some whenever there was a little pool of juice from cutting.  I was actually going for a more spotted look and this seem to be working.  I had a beautiful dark pink-red and was pretty excited about it until I finished seeding the pomegranates and rinsed out the thread.  I was totally surprised with what I ended up with.

It’s sort of a light gray-ish, blue-ish pink.  Not a bad color, just not at allwhat I was expecting.  I was a bit disappointed because the color that it has started with before I went to wash it is one of my favorite colors, but I’ve wound this one up on a little spool and have added it to my bag of experiments.

I have 9 or 10 more balls of DMC size 20 “white” thread.   I put that in quotations because let’s admit it… DMC white isn’t actually very white.  I haven’t found any really white-white threads except for Lizbeth.  I plan on dying all of the DMC white that I have so

I’ve started winding up 50 yard, ready-to-dye skeins and am keeping them handy whenever I feel like dyeing some.  I wound a couple before I left San Diego and still have those 9-10 more to go, so lots of dyeing in my future.  Right now as far as dye goes I only have that blue that I used before and a yellow, but I look forward to trying out some other new colors.  Eventually maybe I’ll actually figure out how to do a nice pomegranate color.

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Dye Lot #1

A couple weeks ago I decided to try dying some of my own thread.  Actually, I decided quite a while ago that I wanted to give it a try, but hadn’t gotten around to it.  Then a couple weeks ago I had a dream in which I was wearing a dress decorated with hand-dyed-thread of a very specific color.  The next day while teaching my tatting class at Piecemakers in Costa Mesa I found that they had two random boxes of r.i.t. dye, one of which looked like it was exactly the color I dreamed about.  Of course, I had to get it and try it that very night.  Nevermind that I was visiting my parents that night or that I got to their place after 10pm.  Luckily they were out of town that night and wouldn’t be back until late the next day so I was able to stay up until 5am dying thread.

I already had a bunch of skeins wound up because I had a couple balls of a not-very-good white thread that I wanted to use up, but didn’t know what to do with.  I figured I’d sacrifice them to my dying experiments since I wouldn’t be very upset if they were wasted.  So I had a couple skeins wound of size 30 of some unknown brand and a bunch of size 10 in Royal.  Years ago I bought 3 of the gigantic skeins of Royal in white and I’d only used about a half of one.  By the end of the night of playing with dye I’d finished that one off and made a pretty good dent in the second.

I also wanted to try dying thread with food coloring so I did that first.  Didn’t really work for me.  I added a few drops of food coloring and vinegar to the hot water (the way that I dye eggs), and when I rinsed the thread all the color washed out and I was left with some very pastel colors which weren’t really what I was going for.  I left it out to dry and even though I thought I’d gotten all the color that was going to wash out it still left a faint bit of color on the papertowels when I went back to look at it, so I think it will probably still fade a bit more with time.

After the food coloring failed I switched to the real fabric dye and not surprisingly it worked great.  :)  Mostly I was just experimenting and trying things out with the amount of dye and the length of time the thread was left in the water.  I tried a couple variegated skeins and they worked pretty well.

My modest dying bucket was a cottage cheese container. I put it on a piece of plastic (actually a old cearal bag) that hung over the sink so when I made the varigates by hanging the skein over the side it would drain into the sink.  I ended up making a lot more than I intended to, but I figured as long as I had dye left in the water I should just keep winding up skeins and playing around with it.  Seemed like a shame to waste the dye so I just kept adding hot water and going and going until it was 5am.  The dyed thread kept getting fainter and fainter and finally I left one last skein in the water and went to bed.  When I woke up it had soaked up the rest of the water and the dye and looked pretty nice.

They dried pretty slowly just sitting on the counter so I ended up taking a hair drier to them to try to get my parents kitchen back to normal by the time they got home.  I’ve done a bit of tatting with the thread since then and I like the way it came out.  It wasn’t very uniform and I have a lot more respect for all the thread dyers out there who are able to make an exact science out of it and end up with a uniform product.  Since I wasn’t really going for any specific colors or variegates it all looks great to me.

I used only a really small amount of the dye so I’ll definitely play around with it some more.  Last time I was at Piecemakers then I bought the other color of dye they had which is a golden yellow.  I’m not big on multicolor threads, but I’ll probably give it a try or two at some point.  Luckily I bought a huge amount of white thread on clearance when all the Joanns in Southern CA stopped carrying thread so I’ve got a lot to use up.  Problem is that all this thread is going to take a really long time to tat with and I’m trying to shrink my supply stash.  I guess I’ve figured out what to give to tatters for Christmas…

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