domenica 24 agosto 2014

Dyeing with natural colours
Our own original thread

Here I am, for my English speaking friends, translating my last post about hand dyeing with natural colours. 
we all know the many beautiful threads we can buy, sometimes really 'too appealing' not to be purchased! But if you happen to have a lot of white thread and a great curiosity, you can manage to get your own wonderful original thread in a short time, using a few cheap everyday materials. 
For this tutorial (other will follow) I used blueberries and powder turmeric as colouring factors, rough table salt for fixing the colour and white cotton thread.
So, off we go! Please refer to the pictures in my Italian post if you need clearer explanations.

First of all, I put the blueberries (one teacup) into a saucepan and I let them heat on the stove until they release their juice, you can smash them a bit with a fork, or even add some water, say one coffee cup. Then I separate the juice from the berries using a filter, and I put the juice into another saucepan, then I put the thread into the juice.

Preparing the thread.
To dye the thread we have to unwind it from its yarn, and make a small skein, say about 50 meters. of course you can make bigger skeins, but remember the bigger the skein the more liquid it requires. We make two little knots around the skein with both ends of the thread to fix it. Then we make a big central knot with the whole skein, and some other, say 3 or 4 knots. This allows us to obtain the 'tie-dye' shade colour.
This time I also tried to use some scotch tape, wrapping it tight around the skein in some points, so that the colour will not soak the thread as in its other points. I expect to have lighter shades of colour where I make knots, and where I put the tape.
Untieing the knots once the thread is ready and wet requires a lot of patience, while removing the tape is easier and faster, but the knots guarantee a better result.

Dyeing the thread.
I put the whole skein into the blueberry juice, letting it soak very well. I bring to the boil and then add rough salt letting it boil for some minutes. then I turn the fire off and leave it until it's cold. The quantity of rough salt I add depends on how much liquid I have: one handful will be enough for two tea cups. Don't worry if you put more, it'll do no harm, only I suggest you to rinse more deeply, since the salt makes the thread a little rougher. 
once the liquid is cold I rinse the thread under cold running water for a couple of minutes: since we're using natural juice we must keep in mind that this juice comes from a solid substance anyway, so we better rinse well. 
Now I have to untie the knots. We'd better do it once the thread is wet, althoug it's more difficult: our thread will dry faster and better. 
Now I let my thread dry, avoiding putting it in the sunlight, which would modify the colour.

So, here is my new absolutely original colour thread.

The result of blueberry dyeing is a nice purple colour, more or less dark, more or less turning into violet, and it will surely change in time, depending wether you leave it in the sun (especially turmeric, turning into pale pink) or simply in the light. 

I obtained this yellow colour using powder turmeric. The proceeding is the same as for the blueberries. It's a beautiful colour, but it surely changes if left in the sun turning into a pale pink. As for me I don't mind my colours changing.

I lately tried with some other materials: dried hypericum flowers, dried hypericum sticks, blackberries and more! 
Hope you enjoyed my post, and hope to meet you again. please feel free to ask if you have any questions or request.

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