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We Successfully Dyed #10 100% Cotton Thread and Worsted Weight 100% Cotton Yarn

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I have some bottles of Rit dye I bought 2 or 3 years ago. I never opened any of them until now. One of my women friends kept looking at the purple bottle, and finally asked if we could dye some of her thread a dark purple. I said OK, so we got ready.


She wound hanks from a 1000 yard ball, and used all of it. She tied and washed all the hanks. While she did that, I figured out the right proportions for the dye, salt and water according to the instructions on the bottle.


I gathered up an enamel canning pan (this was perfect), 2 large glass bowls, the dye, an old big plastic spoon, a glass measuring cup and a white roll of paper towels. She had a new box of salt, an old big plastic spaghetti catcher utensil, and a bottle of bleach.


After measuring the salt, dye, then water into the pan, we put it on the stove and brought the heat up to just under a simmer. Once the salt was stirred in (no more grit) she slowly slid each hank in while I slowly stirred. I kept the heat just below a simmer for 1/2 hour and continued to stir very slowly.


What we actually used: 1 gallon water, 1 1/3 oz salt, 2 2/3 oz liquid Rit fabric dye, 5.4 oz wet cotton thread.


We weren't sure if we needed to leave the thread in longer because it looked great, but there was still a lot of dye in the water, so I turned off the heat and we left it soaking and cooling for the next 1/2 hour.


After this hour of dye, we carefully lifted it out of the pan with the spoon and spaghetti tool into a glass bowl. The thread was definitely dark purple. The hot tap water is very hot, so she ran it until it was at it's hottest and put the bowl under the faucet. Wow ~ the color just spread out in the bowl most prettily, but it was obvious a lot of dye was going to come out! I hollered "stop" and suggested we try to set the color in more right then by adding more salt to that first rinse water, and leave it 1/2 hour. So that's what we did.


While we were waiting, we looked at the dye in the pot and it was still very purple. My friend started on me :lol :lol :lol "Go get some of your white cotton, come on, we don't want to waste all this." So I did. I had a cone of white worsted weight 100% cotton. I had no idea how much to try to dye because it was so much heavier than her thread. She grabbed my cone and made 3 hanks. I thought that was enough.


I reheated the dye, added a little more salt and my hanks. I did not add dye. I repeated what we did with her thread: 1/2 hour just under simmer, and 1/2 hour with the heat off.


By now, she was rinsing and rinsing her thread. When I was ready to rinse, she was still rinsing, but it was not a problem. We lifted my hanks out into the second glass bowl, filled it with the first hot water and some salt to soak for 1/2 hour. My hanks were a pretty medium purple. She continued rinsing her thread and I went back to look in the dye pot. You know, there was still a good amount of dye in there, and since we'd done this much already, I wondered if I could do a little bit to come out pale purple. I figured it would work.


I did up 3 more hanks, smaller than the first 3. I forgot to say earlier, all the hanks were gently washed before being put in the dye pot. I heated the dye pot again, added salt again, and put the hanks in. I did not add more dye. I repeated our process.


While this last batch was in the dye, my friend had finally gotten all the dye out of her thread. Hers was the most difficult because she wanted a dark shade. Also this is why I used white paper towels for squeezing out water to test the hanks. You are not done until you can roll thread or yarn in white paper towels, and squeeze the water out ~ when no color comes out, then you are done. Her rinsing and squeezing and rolling took about an hour. I know that's a lot, but that's what it takes sometimes to get a color you want.


In the meantime, I was able to rinse my first batch. I didn't have to rinse half as long as my friend, and I was thrill to have some nice medium purple from dye that would have been otherwise thrown away. When my second batch was done on the stove, I gave it a 1/2 hour hot water and salt soak like the others, then rinsed it thoroughly also. I was quite pleased to find I has some light lavender.


When we were done, we carefully poured out the remains from our pan, and immediately rinsed it then filled it with hot water, dish detergent and a little bleach. Although we had been very careful not to get any dye drops anywhere, I wiped down the stove with this hot soapy dish water, and the counter top too. We washed everything we used in this. Afterwards, we bleached the sink. The kitchen was sparkling!


We did have one mishap. One of the bowls just snapped and broke. Probably because it had been in a lower cupboard, and was cold, then was subjected to the super hot water. It was a very old bowl. So I got out another one. No one was hurt.


One thing we did learn. When you tie the hanks, use acrylic yarn to do this because it will not pick up the dye. We used the cotton and the ties were not easy to find or undo later. I should have paid attention to people who have said this before!!


Also, I forgot to weight my worsted weight cotton beforehand, so I weighed it after it dried. The medium purple is 2 1/2 oz, so that would be the size of a ball we buy. The pale purple is 1 1/2 oz.

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No, we didn't take pictures. My friend's thread came out a color close to dark iris flowers, the real growing ones. She wanted to do this dye project because she couldn't find any very dark purple thread to suit her. We just didn't know if a very dark color like she wanted would set into the cotton or mostly wash out. In the end, it did set, but we used a lot of salt also. The dye directions said to use salt.


Both of my worsted weight cotton batches came out considerably lighter, but we figured they would since we were only trying to use up the dye in the pot. My first batch came out almost exactly the color of Sugar 'n Cream Hot Purple. My second batch is quite light, like a pale lavender. It's pretty.

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