Thursday, July 24, 2008

Biggest tatting HDT batch to date...

Hubby has encouraged me to start dyeing bigger batches of tatting thread, partly to cut down on my workload and partly because I want my stock to be as reliable as possible in case someone runs out of a color and needs a new skein or two my dear friend Diane.
I had to upgrade and purchase special equipment to handle the larger batches. It is nerve-racking to dye in big batches because you are putting yourself at risk of ruining the whole batch and losing a lot of time and money. But the time has come to jump into the deep end of the pool.
As I previously stated, I am going back and re-dyeing favorite colorways in silk.

My first big batch is "FUCHSIA". I dyed a lot of this in silk, including the new silks that I would reccomend for exhibition and/or heirloom pieces.

Here are super duper close up pictures so that you can see the quality of the threads yourself.

Cotton 6 cord threads

Silk, 3,4 and 6 cord threads

To all my "Here be Tatters" friends. I check in and read what everyone is up to nearly everyday. I guess you can call me a "lurker". The format of Yahoo Groups message boards are quite overwhelming for me, so I very rarely leave comments.

There has been a lot of discussion of late about hand dyeing threads. I never want to discourage anyone from experimenting, but perhaps I can save you a bit of pain and heartache with this post.

Marilee a.k.a "Yarnplayer" has very generously posted directions on her site about how she hand dyes thread.

My methods are quite similar to hers. I started hand dyeing threads because it was a natural progression for me. I already had much of the equipment required in my pottery studio and I have years of experience working with chemicals, so I am well versed in the rules of safety.

When I read some of the methods some people are trying I developed a few concerns, such as; will the threads be colorfast? Or will those baby booties you tatted end up staining babies feet, or that bookmark staining someones book. This is well within the realm of possiblities.

Also, it is a must to keep all dyeing well away from the kitchen area. Ideally you wouldn't even use the same sink that is in your kitchen. Like Marilee, I wear gloves and a face mask. I have a special room set up just for dyeing. I invested a great deal of money into dyes, threads and other necessary equipment, and finally I did lot's and lot's of research before I ever started.

Also, what is the point of dyeing crappy threads, (those not ideal for tatting)? That would be like painting over rotting wood. It is important to start with a good foundation, and if you don't want to waste your time, you will start with the best quality thread you can buy.

This is not meant to discourage anyone from giving it a good go....but rather help save some serious frustration. There is a ton of good information on the net and just a small amount of research will help immensely.

And lastly, I think there is a misconception that hand dyeing thread is just a willy nilly breeze of a thing to do. I assure you, there is a lot more effort put into HDT than you would imagine.

That's just my two cents....


Lace-lovin' Librarian - Diane said...

I thought the dye process was a little more complicated than dipping a paint brush into some paint and slathering it on to some thread! You've given me even more reasons to sit back and enjoy the fruits of YOUR labors! I hope you, Marilee, and Pamela continue to dye luscious threads for years to come! I think I'll be purchasing in threes from now on! ; )

Iris Niebach said...

What you write about dying thread is the reason becaus I do not dye thread. I have no room, I'm not used to work with chemicals, I have 5 grandchildren running around, so I could never do such a thing. I like your HDT so much and also always admire your research of colors in nature. It is difficult for my to bye your and Marilees thread from so far away, but the time will come for me to bye your thread, I love it.

Hanane said...

While I appreciate your concern for my health and my thread. I appreciate your thread and your experiences. I dye for fun. I wrote my post on HBT to see if anyone else beside you professionals have done it. I know your process and I don't have the time or money to invest in doing it that way. My threads and cotton yarns cotton t-shirs have been colorfast using the method I have used. Heck dyeing eggs the spots I get on my shirts NEVER come out.

So while I appreciate the advise, and if I was going to do it for a business or anyone besides myself I would consider investing.

Besides I have kids with allergies and asthma and my methods require nothing stronger than vinegar. Which they dislike but I don't have to ban them from the house or make everyone wear a gas mask while doing it. :D

Your threads and Yarnplayers threads are beautiful, not slight intended for either of you. Just me enjoying having a little fun!

Hanane said...

And lastly believe me I don't think that dyeing thread is a willy nilly of a thing to do! I now that the stuff you guys produce takes time money and lots of effort. I just dont have that time money or want to put that much effort into it. I posted to see if anyone else had taken a step in that direction. What were their experiences. Not to be Willy Nilly. I don't appreciate the implication that we were being Willy Nilly. Nor was it my intention of taking anything away from you and your beautiful thread or yarnplayers beautiful threads.

Keeping in mind this is your blog and you are free to say what ever you wish!!!!!!

Kathy said...

Your colors are lovely! I have never dyed threads, though I have dyed lace. Apparently thread dying is more tedious than dying lace.
Keep up the good work.

I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for an Award over on my blog. Please don't feel obligated to do it, but I do want you to know how much I enjoy your blog.

Pamela said...

Can I add my 2 cents to this in total agreement with Sherry.
With the kind help of Marilee I have come into thread dyeing from the solid base of a 'technical messer'!!

I have used chemical dyes in powder and liquid form for silk painting, leather dyeing and for copper enamelling so it was natural that thread dyeing would appeal enormously to me.

I too wear a dust mask and gloves and have a dedicated dyeing area away from my kitchen.

I can also vouch for the fact that dyeing threads takes a huge amount of time and deserves the best threads available.

I too filled a book with dye samples and used an entire ball of thread before I ever dyed a skein, but then that was fun for me.

Sherry and Marilee are very, very creative and talented artists, something that as a technician I cannot hope to compare myself with.

yarnplayer said...

Hey, Sherry, this is a great post! I know your blog is widely read, so I hope a lot of the people interested in dyeing their own threads read your good advice. Some folks have friends who dye wool with stuff like kool-aid, which actually works pretty good on wool, but does NOT work on cotton.

Iris, I had an order from a lady in Italy, sent her the order in a letter envelope, and she received it. So you can order from Italy.

Keep up the great work, Sherry, and thanks for the compliments and credit you've given me. Pamela, that goes for you, too!

snowy said...

I have no wish to dye, but I may, in fact do, need another skein of the silk pandeora....but I am waiting anxiously for pay-day (generally around the 26th or 28th of the month) before ordering. Not because it's so expensive, but if I am ordering one I feel I'd like several skeins, and the mjolika shuttle...fingers crossed!

Hanane said...

Hmmm don't like people to disagree with you I see. Well it is your right to moderate the posts on your own blog. But I resent the fact that you think I am all Willy Nilly in my FUN!!!!! God forbid we are not all "Professionals"

I assure you that I will NEVER use the stuff you use to dye thread nor will I ever hock my dyeing on Etsy or anywhere else.

I further give you my word that when I do decide to tat a pair of Heirloom baby booties it will be done with very fine thread that someone else handdyed and NOT MY EASTER EGG dyed stuff.

And anyone whose book gets wet enough for a bookmark to run deserves what ever happens to them.

LadyShuttleMaker aka MadMadPotter said...

Wow, I woke up this to find some encouraging and most discouraging comments.

I like to focus on the encouraging comments but I feel I need to address this huge misunderstanding.

1.) I don't care for airing "dirty laundry" on the internet...unfortunately I feel a bit cornered here so I will address this issue one time only.

2.)Hanane, I am so sorry you feel this post is a personal attack on you. Many people are trying their hand at hand dyeing. This is a blanket post meant to help all those trying it on their own...again not a personal attack on you. I don't even know who you are. Why would I attack you or anyone else?

3)Yes, I wasn't going to publish your comments because I feel this is something you can talk to me about personally not in a public forum. My email address is
Please email privately if you have any more to say.

4)Again, this post had NOTHING to do with YOU personally. I am very sorry you thought so.

LadyShuttleMaker aka MadMadPotter said...

Thank you for the kind words. I've shipped all over Europe so I am pretty sure that shipping to Italy would be no problem. Thank you for being such a big inspiration to me and the whole tatting community!

LadyShuttleMaker aka MadMadPotter said...

Thank you Kathy for awarding me....what a moral booster!

Thank you Pamela and Marilee for your suppport. Of course I don't expect or even want people to agree with me 100% of the time but it is sure comforting to know that I have your support....and you both have mine!

Snowy, I am glad you like the Pandorea. I can't wait to see what you tat with it.

yarnplayer said...

Sherry, I know you do your blog to encourage creativity and fun, and try to share from your personal experimenting in case it may help someone else. That's what most blogging tatters do - helping the craft of tatting to not disappear into oblivion.
Regarding hand dyeing, there are tons of hand dyers among knitters and handspinners, and those crafts have their own magazines that publish articles on different dyeing methods - tatting doesn't have the same type of luxury. Those of us who have "been there" to some extent are just trying to share what little we know in order to help. Definitely, nobody that I know of would ever try to discourage anybody from experimenting and having fun.

Jamie said...

Sounds like a intresting process...they look like yummy candy! I am sure many people appreciate the great save them the drama! I know i would.