HNW - Elizabethan Needlework

Sarah Randles s-randles at
Wed Jul 7 17:41:07 PDT 1999

Bren asked:

>How feasible is it to dye it yourself?  Would the floss get all tangled
>and matted together?  Shrink?  :\

I haven't tried this, so I'm guessing.  If you use silk I think it's
unlikely to shrink, since silk doesn't in my experience.  Cotton (like DMC
or Anchor) may well.  If you die in the skein, I don't think you'll have
tangling problems, especially with silk, but there may be problems of the
dye getting through to the middle of the skein.  I think I'd try one skein
that way, and unwind one onto something like a large bit of plastic to
space it out and compare the results. (When I died a whole load of cord
trim for a dress once, I unwound sections onto plastic take-away container
lids before dyeing and that worked pretty well .  Well it did the second
time, the first time I dyed it loose and spent hours untangling it.) That
should ensure no tangling, and also that the dye penetrates well.  Contrary
to the setting on your iron and washing machine, real silk will take high
temperatures well, and also absorbs dye well, soI think you should get good
results doing this on the stovetop.  Warning, though, do not use kitchen
utensils that you intend to re-use for food - some dyestuffs are poisonous,
and it's best to err on the safe side.


Sarah Randles                                    email: s-randles at
School of English                              phone: 02 6268 8842
University College ADFA                 fax:   02 6268 8899
Canberra ACT 2601

Note: on Mondays and Tuesdays I work at the Australian National Dictionary
Centre - phone: (02) 6249 0476.

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