Friday, April 9, 2010

HDT (Hand Dyed Thread) 101

At the risk of sounding a bit snobby I would like to state that Not all thread is equal.
I am seeing new thread dyers popping up all over the place and that is a good thing. However, I think it is important to educate those who are new to HDT so that you know you are getting the most for your money.
Be wary if the seller doesn't let you know in the item description what the source thread is. Many sellers are dying inferior threads with inferior dyes and selling their threads at the same prices as those of us who start with the very best materials money can buy.
You want to make sure your hand dyed threads are 6 cord rather than pearl cotton or other 3-ply threads.
6 cord threads are smoother, tighter, stronger, tat better and give you a superior end product. These threads are harder to come by and have to be special ordered. Whereas pearl cotton and other such threads are fuzzy, softer, and weaker and can be purchased cheaply at any hobby craft store.

As for the dye used you want to make sure the colors are colorfast and that the thread has been properly cured and washed so that it doesn't bleed out when blocked.

As and aside, here is an observation I have made: Good thread + a good pattern = no blocking. (Just something to think about) I very rarely have to block my work.

My feeling is that if you are going to spend hours and hours tatting beautiful lace for friends and family why not start with the very best materials in the first place?
If you are going to spend the extra money on HDT then make sure you know exactly what you are getting. The price of the thread should reflect the materials used as well as the expertise in creating the product.
So with that said, if you so choose, feel free to buy those hand dyed pearl cottons as long as the price reflects the materials. Just make sure you aren't paying the same price for it as you would for the superior threads.

Happy Tatting!


Sally Kerson said...

Wow that was interesting. But so appreciate that HDT takes so much time and effort having seen Tatskool set up. It certainly is an art and no you do not sound snobby!

Tatskool said...

Hear, hear. For all the effort that goes into tatting quality thread is a dream to tat with.

Jane Eborall said...

Well said. A BIG pat on the back from a 'new to HDT' tatter. I also thoroughly agree that any pattern properly designed (and tweaked and tweaked to get the right stitch count) should never ever need blocking. Good thread, great design = happy tatting.

TAT19540 said...

Amen! I use quality products in my tie-dyed T-Shirts and have shirts that are 5 years old that look almost as good as the day I did them(after many wearings and washings). Most new people the dying hdt don't understand quality in quality out. Yarnplayer had a blog on her process and it was quite labor intensive as well as time intense.I don't feel bad at yours or Marilee's prices for thread. Hdt is still a bargin when you think of the hours it takes to produce. I appricate you and Marilee for your excellant product!

Lace-lovin' Librarian - Diane said...

Very well said! I agree... when I use good quality thread, I don't need to block.

Krystle said...

You've brought up an interesting thought about the price....I have been wrestling with that one for awhile myself. I'm using high quality ingredients, but I don't want to anyone to think that I am trying to compete for anyone elses business. So I don't want to price low and have you guys feel like I am undercutting you, but my experience level is growing so I don't feel I deserve the same price that you gals sell for, and then there is the fees that etsy and paypal charge, and then whew, you can't price so low that you're not making money....Lol I still don't know what to do :-) You are absolutely right in everything you say. I am one of those new dyers and after the trial and error I can say that quality thread is worth every penny. It's a challenge and a Joy at the same time. Anyway, I'm writing a novel so I better stop.

Isdihara said...

Let's give a big cheer to all thread dyers, with extra OOMPH and APPLAUSE to those who use superior threads and dyes to create their products.

And a special WOOT to new dyers like Krystledawne who are so conscientious and courteous in their dealings.

For anyone who may not be sure how to tell if the threads they have are 6-ply or 3-ply: fray the end of a thread and count the strings. A 3-ply will have three single threads twisted together. A 6-ply will have three 2-ply threads twisted together. (A 2-ply thread has 2 single threads twisted together.)

Is my novel longer than Krystledawne's? LOL I wasn't trying...honest!

Ridgetatter said...

I agree 100 percent. I like good threads. I like HDT. And that combination is priceless! I haven't ventured out to new vendors because I'm happy with the three that I regularly use. Why go to the bucket when you can go to the well? LOL
xxxx grams

Ленхен said...

Thank you!

***Jon**** said...

I have never been happier tatting with yours or Yarnplayer's, or Tatskool's HDT. That is because all of you are using the 6-ply thread which is the only kind that I would buy. Having said that, I do have 3-ply thread but they are gifts that I could not refuse and I use them mostly for crochet rather than tatting.

Appreciate all the effort that you are putting to feed our addiction :))

yarnplayer said...

Since I have customers of various craft pursuits - embroiderers, crocheters, knitters, as well as tatters - I do dye a variety of kinds of thread. Even among pearl cottons, there are differences in quality.

But for tatting, I have always preferred the 6 cord threads. I like not having to do any blocking other than a little shot of steam. The only time I pinned something was for my first "atom" attempt - but that was a sign that my pattern itself needed major tweaking - which I am working on.

Linda S Davies said...

Very informative, Thank you!