Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tie Dye and Hand Dyed Thread

I love using hand dyed thread for tatting and always wanted to try my hand at it, so when my daughter asked to do tie-dye, I thought this would be the perfect time to dye some thread.  We went off to by some Rit dye and white t-shirts and bandannas.  As you can see below, the tie dye turned out beautifully.

The colors are bright and the tie patterns turned out really well.

The thread, on the other hand, didn't turn out so well.
See how wimpy the colors are.  The one on the left is supposed to be purple, the same color as the big t-shirt above.  The middle one is variegated blue and fuchsia, and the one on the right is supposed to be royal blue.  I dyed the thread the same way I dyed the t-shirts: 3 gallons hot water to one bottle of dye, 1 cup salt, soak for 30-60 minutes.  Why did the thread not color as well?  I'm almost positive it's cotton (the label is missing, but it feels like cotton).  The dye seemed to rinse right out of the tread when I took it out.  The purple is a little darker because I didn't rinse it right away.  I let it sit for 20-30 minutes after taking it out of the dye bath.  Can anybody out there tell me what I'm doing wrong?  Is it the dye? the thread?  Should I add vinegar instead of salt?  Please help.  I would love to dye my own thread.

On the tatting front, I did manage to get one small motif done this week.
This is from the book Butterflies Migrating by the Palmetto Tatters.  It is done in Lizbeth Pink Parade and Tropical Punch, leftovers on shuttles from previous projects.  It ruffles quite a bit.  Maybe the picots on the inner rows are a little too big.  But I like the shape.


  1. I have experience with Rit-dye's and they are no good at all! you will find when you wash the shirt it will not hold the color it is very disappointment and a waste of money.
    it will bleed on to other colors too to save what you can dip it all in cold salt water and this will save what you have done now. I have found other things that work best to research this subject! I do so love the butterfly and Palmentto 's has a couple of really cute ones too!

    1. Thanks for the info. Did not know that Rit was not good. I will do some research.

  2. Your shirts look fabulous!!! :)
    And you have a cute butterfly and the colors are wonderful together!!! :)

  3. When I used to dye flowers fresh and silk, I used to dip them in the dye until I got the colour I wanted, I have never done thread, but at least you have some unquie thread
    Lovely butterfly and pattern.

  4. Try procion fiber-reactive dyes. My sister gets hers from Dharma Trading Company:

    1. Thanks for the link. My research has also shown that porcion MX dyes to be the best for cotton.