Monday, June 24, 2013

Jacquie's Up-Cycle Nation: A Time To Dye

When new needlework projects require the sumptuous tones of over-dyed threads, spare the expense of buying all new skeins and make your own! 
Any crafter who uses embroidery floss knows how quickly skeins multiply in plastic bins- often resulting in an overload of same colors and tangles of so-slightly-used threads.  These poor neglected bundles usually end up in the trash or charity bin.
The OH-SO-CHEAP Supply List:
*Rit dye *embroidery floss *table salt *small plastic bins from the recycle bucket  *gloves
 *drying rack
This is a perfect outside craft for the summer! Throw on some rubber gloves and get down and dirty in the grass! Dye will stain hands and clothes so wear an old tee shirt or apron and don't skip the gloves.
Fill  small plastic bins with water, Rit dye, and salt.  As a general rule I use one teaspoon of salt per 1 cup of water.  I also like to create shades by adding different amounts of dye to the bowls.  Mix dyes to create signature colors.
Go solar and let the sun heat the water!
When the water is hot from the summer sun:
- Prepare the floss by twisting each skein into a small, loose knot. 
-Dip one end into color
-Dip opposite end into color
-Dunk center knot into color
Dip quickly for light shading.  Soak longer for a dark saturation. 
Update those off-beat shades by experimenting with color and techniques.
Unknot the skein and rinse with cold water until water runs clean.  Dry on a rack (or tree branch) in the sun.
It is wise to re-rinse the thread once the dye has dried- just to be sure the floss is colorfast.
Once the floss is dry examine the color.  Threads can be re-dyed for extra variegation or dipped into a secondary color for added depth. 

The thread used the anchor below was created by putting light gray DMC floss into light blue dye.  Once the thread dried it was re-knotted and dipped into navy blue dye to create a wide color tone range.
 In this colonial piece the color variegations are more subtle to give the work a period feel.
After each skein has achieved just the right color I rework the skein and attach a label.  The final step involves the fun of naming the new colors.  I usually choose colors akin to the current season.  For this summer batch I chose names like summer grape, ocean waves, lichen and iris.
Bundle up and give as a sweet gift for your stitching friends or keep for those fab new summer projects of your own!
Jacquie Wheeler
Hand of Bela Peck