Wall hanging to dye for

As previously mentioned, I will be teaching some classes at one of the big box craft stores. I was assigned to make a sample for the dyed wall hanging class.

The instructions for the sample specified a type of dye usually used when dyeing cloth yardage. Since I was only dyeing a small amount of yarn, and didn’t want to mix up whole packages of dye, math was needed.

WATER

1 gallons on the label

4 quarts per gallon

× 4 cups per quart

=16 cups water needed for whole packet

3 cups water I want to use

÷16 cups water for whole packet

= 0.1875 This is the MAGIC NUMBER

SALT

4 Tablespoons for whole packet

x 3 teaspoons / Tablespoon

=12 teaspoons for whole packet

x 0.1875 (the MAGIC NUMBER)

= 2.25 teaspoons salt I want to use

DYE

8.75 teaspoons dye in the package

x 0.1875 (the MAGIC NUMBER)

= 1.640625 teaspoons dye I want to use

Closest approximations =

1 teaspoon + 0.5 teaspoon + heaping 1/8 teaspoon (0.12) = 1.62 teaspoons dye

Whew! That chore over, I can tell you about preparing the rest of the sample.

I was instructed on how to prepare the cotton yarn for dyeing. I measured, then tied, each of the 16 tassels. The instructions said to cover the tassel with painters tape from the knot at the top and down 3 inches. Knowing that dye can be messy, I also covered the ties with painters tape. I put rubber bands at the bottom of the painters tape, and bundled four tassels together.

All of the dyeing would take place in the garage. I didn’t want loose dye in my house! I assumed that things could get crazy during the dyeing process, so I prepared as much as I could beforehand. I laid out dye containers, stir sticks, and measured salt and dye. (The extra dye packets went into labeled plastic bags.)

All was ready for dyeing. The packets specified using hot water, so I heated water on the stove in the kitchen. When the water was hot enough I took the pan out to the garage and measured the water into the microwave safe container. It was a small matter to dump the premeasured salt and dye into the dye pot.

The dye instructions called for the tassels to be moved constantly for about 15 minutes, then stirred occasionally for another 45 minutes. After the first 15 minutes I started on the second bundle of tassels. I managed to have three in various stages of dyeing before I maxed myself out. I had to do the fourth bundle when the other bundles were finished.

When the soaking time was up I CAREFULLY squeezed out the dye water, then hurried the bundle over to the sink (in the kitchen – I know!). I rinsed, and rinsed, and ... After no more dye came out I unbundled the tassels, then hung them to dry.

It was interesting to see that the dye went up the tassel just like oil or paraffin goes up a wick. The instructions I was given showed a clear dividing line between dyed and undyed sections of tassel. I’m not sure why that didn’t happen with me. Perhaps the instruction originator did something different during the dyeing process that was never documented for me. Don’t get me wrong, I think the way mine looks is better than the instructions.

I decided that a stark white hanging cord wasn’t what I wanted, so I dyed it for a few minutes in the yellow dye. That gave a nice pale yellow color.

If I were to do this project a second time (not likely), I would leave the tassels in the dye for much less time. I prefer my colors less saturated.

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