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Ellen would be delighted to have a class with you or your group! You can check out her classes at www.ellenanneeddy.com. She also offers independent studio time in her studio in Indiana. Talk to Ellen about classes at 219-921-0885, or contact her scheduler Sarah at 616-485-5646 to set a date

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Ellen Anne Eddy
Author of Thread Magic: The Enchanted World of Ellen Anne Eddy Fiber artist, author and teacher
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Friday, January 29, 2010

Thread Savy-Why dye! The Case for Hand-dyed Thread

We've talked about the commercial thick metallic threads. They're yummy.As your asking yourself, "What more could you need?", think of this. They don't come in very good variegations. 




Variegated thread is sort of a mixed blessing in almost all the commercial threads. There are two basic types. There are threads variagated through rainbow colors. These make great stippling threads. The color changes carry your eye across the surface and they're very interesting for that. But they're miserable to shade with. Who, over the age of three, wants a random rainbow colored anything? It's a serious limit. 




They also come with small variegations, that range around one color. Again, it's a limited effect. Finally you'll find pearl cottons that range in value from white to the darkest tone of the color. This works for flowers, but for anything else, it looks like it fades in and out. These threads were never made to shade solid images.


This is why I dye thread. I've learned that the best way to color an image is to have a range of colors, light to dark and then to add a shader for weight and a shocker for interest. With thinner threads, you pick your colors one by one. But thicker threads fill up quicker and don't have enough space to let you do that. So when I dye my own threads, I dye in that range and a shocker or shader( sometimes one color works for both purposes) so that thread will automatically shade as I stitch.
The threads I dye are #5 Pearl cottons. They're made from mercerized cotton and dye beautifully! And they're already washed out and needle ready( I wash out all my red threads an extra time, just to insure their color fastness). Slightly larger than the #8 metallics, they are a perfect thread for bobbin weight work.


It sounds complicated. But the dyeing makes it a simple coloring exercise. And I never stay within the lines, so I don't see why you should either.


You put these threads in an adjusted  or bypassed bobbin and stitch from the back. The results are spectacular.  I often add either black  or iridescent white Candlelight  for details and to outline.


Ellen Anne Eddy's Hand-Dyed Thread Club  can checked out at The Cotton Club. These cute little kits can start you out with threads that will do the hard color choices for you. 
You can see these kits at the Cotton Club or on my blog at
Thread Magic Events

2 comments:

Robbie said...

i just love your 'teaching' blog!!! so much info and tips and insight!! Thanks Ellen!!

Roberta Ranney said...

I'm really enjoying all the information you share on this blog. Thanks for all your work.

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