Friday, May 2, 2014

Caring for Hand-dyed yarns & fiber

Our yarns are dyed with commercial dyes that are guaranteed to be light- and wash-fast. We don’t use natural dyes because they don’t allow for a variety of bright colors or fastness. That doesn't mean that Natural Dyes aren't wonderful! We just like bright colors that can be dependably mixed and matched. Nearly every color can be achieved, unlike the limited palette of plant matter and other natural dye sources. Our dyes are completely safe to wear and wash and are also easy and fast to use. We would love to teach you to use dyes on your own - check out our Workshops page to see the variety of classes we offer.

Any item that has been dyed by Nice Threads has been washed thoroughly (cottons and linens are boiled; wools and silks are steamed) to fix the dyes, but there will likely be a small amount of excess dye that will wash out the first few times. Therefore, we recommend washing initially with similar colors and in cool water. Hot water will force the excess dye to wash out more freely. After a few washings, you shouldn't have to worry about dye coming out of your piece.

Cottons and linens can be machine washed and dried, with normal soaps. Wools and silks should be hand-washed with mild soap like Dawn (do not use Woolite - it's too alkaline for wool now that they re-formulated it for all fibers!). It's not a bad idea to rinse your item in cold water with a splash of vinegar to neutralize the alkalinity. Shampoo is a great alternative soap for your animal fiber item - just treat it like your hair! You can even put a few drops of conditioner in the very last rinse to soften your item.

And, be sure to wash your item when you've finished knitting/crocheting/weaving it - in hot water, just this one time - so that the stitches will settle together into a continuous fabric. I've been surprised to hear that many hobbyists don't know that that step is an important finishing process to get the best results.

All yarns and fibers have been pre-shrunk, but in the process of making your hand-made item, will likely shrink a bit so be sure to get more than you need for your project. Please note that Merino yarn or fiber will definitely shrink dependably if "felting" (finishing your item by putting it in the washer/dryer to shrink and harden it) is part of your project. Also note that any of our yarns or fibers labeled Superwash can be machine washed, since the capability of felting/shrinking has been removed from the fibers. I do recommend using a milder soap and warm or cool water. Superwash fibers and yarns are great for socks and baby things, not to mention sweaters for those family members who don't sort through the laundry before tossing things in the machine!

Small batch dyeing will produce colors slightly different every batch so please be sure to order/buy more than you need before you start. If you find you have run out of your hand-dyed yarn or fiber before you are done, we can try to match your colors, but we can’t guarantee a match if you order more in a separate batch.

Get in touch with us if you have any questions about your hand-dyed items!