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Dyeing for More Color!

Everybody knows about my love affair with color, and with that comes a fascination with hand dyeing. I've noticed more and more DIY's popping up that make dyeing easy and exciting. On Pintrest the dyed doily is common sight:

Learn how to do this here

and on Etsy, it's a sea of hand dyed fabric, fiber and ribbons...

Dyed Silk for Nuno Felting from Kangaroodyer

Dyed Ribbon from Goldenonetoo

From the 5dollar French Market

If I google "How To's Hand dyeing" there are directions on how to dye absolutely everything from coconut to your shoes. People use food coloring, onion skins and even  Kool-Aid ( might make you think twice about drinking that stuff....). Humans have always craved color, and the application of it has been a long journey that every culture has participated in. Evidence of dyed fabric goes all the way back to the Neolithic Period, and documented Chinese dyeing techniques span back 5,000 years. Each culture devised it's own methods, utilizing natural materials around them. Many of  these methods evolved into incredibly complicated and carefully guarded secrets. Certain colors were sanctioned as fit for one caste or another, most notabley "Royal Purple". There was an actual law on the books of England that denied all but the high born as fit to wear this hue. A great irony of it all was that often times dyers were consider untouchables, and shunned from society. Although they held the keys to Royal Purple and the ever-sought after True Red, the transformative nature of their gifts was sometimes looked at as witchery, which was not helped by the proprietary and secretive nature of their business.

In Japan, they fared better.  "Shibori" dyeing is considered  fine art there. Basically a refined form of tie-dye, this type of dyeing is considered a "resist", meaning parts of the fabric actually resist the dyeing process.


By painstakingly pleating, binding and sewing large swathes of fabric, complicated, precise patterns of resist are achieved.

Great info on shibori here

And of course, there is the current fascination with all things old and tarnished, which can only lead us to Tea dyeing.

Tea Dyed samples from Tiinateaspoon

This is just a little bit of what's out there, please be sure to click the links to learn more about all of these cool techniques. At some point, I hope to dye my own threads, fabric or fiber and really get down to it! For now, I will just revel in all the color!

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