Alternative Threads

Here at Tinctoria we don’t just hand dye wool. We also dye a variety of non-animal fibres using all natural materials, fibres like Cotton, Bamboo, Linen and hemp will all available.

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I was asked not long ago whether we dyed yarns that could be used by vegans. I did some reading and initially decided to dye some Double Knit Pima cotton yarn. It proved to be somewhat different to dyeing with wool! It seemed all the advice around was to wash the yarn thoroughly before dyeing, not just scouring like with wool, but several stages of washing and soaking with Soda Ash. I washed all 5 skeins, but just soaked one skein in Soda Ash, this did not make the skein any cleaner and I came to the conclusion that the suppliers I use (AC Wools Ltd) supplied some excellently clean wool. Mordanting plant fibres is also a long process and if using the preferred 3 step method I may have ended up waiting weeks for the yarn to be ready to dye. I chose a 1 step method to mordant the cotton using Aluminium Acetate (ProTip: for the love of god wear gloves!). Following this, I dyed some of the yarn with madder, some with logwood and some with weld. The colour results differed from the wool that I dyed afterwards, but were really pleasing non the less, see picture above (sold out already!). I am not a fan of dyeing cotton yarn though, it tangled easily, tended to shed fibres like crazy and was generally a pain to use. Bamboo on the other hand has been fine. Glossy, took dye well and had non of the horrid “nails down a blackboard” feel I got with cotton. To be listed at the end of the week will be the two skeins of bamboo in “Autumn leaves” colourway.

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