We have recently been ordering Threadworx (formerly Needle Necessities) fibers for designs we have in stock. They have put together wonderful information on how to handle overdyed fibers and color fast issues. Due to strict Regulations imposed by the FDA on dye chemicals no thread can be guaranteed 100% colorfast by specialty product manufacturers. The FDA, with the additional voice of the EPA, has removed many of the “setting” ingredients (such as lead) in dyes, so now we must take special precaution with any colored fabric or thread. We seldom have a problem with our colors running, but we cannot guarantee complete colorfastness. SETTING COLOR IN A FIBER Specialty threads must be treated gently!! The thread must first be unskeined, put into a bathroom basin 1/2 filled with cold water, 2 T table salt & 2 T vinegar. Soak fiber for 2-3 minutes, remove, blot with towel and let dry. This recommended for any piece that will require washing. Please note: HOT WATER and using a steam iron and/or a damp cloth when pressing completed project will reactivate dyes and cause bleeding. FIBERS THAT HAVE BLED AFTER STITCHING If your work has been completed and dyes have bled in washing, then you must soak the piece in ICE WATER until the color starts to bleed out. Remove from the water and run an ice cube over the problem area, then place back in fresh ice water to soak again. Repeat this process until the problem area is clear of dye. This may take continued effort, possibly a few days, but it does work!!!!
To pre-cut or not to pre-cut, that is the question. Sorry Shakespeare. This is an ongoing discussion between stitchers. On one side: never pre-cut the fibers, the other side: ok to pre-cut the fibers. Sounds pretty Black (310) and White (Blanc). Well there are many gray (318, 414, 415...3799) areas between the two sides.
When using over-dyed fibers some preplanning is necessary. There are two basic types of dying done to fibers, 1) Monochromatic and 2) Multi-colored. Monochromatic fibers (065) have the same color, going from light to dark. Multi-colored fibers (066) are dyed with two or more colors. Both are frequently referred to as variegated.
Holes in Perforated Paper
Recently we were asked what can you do if you tear or get a hole in your perforated paper. Well we contacted the Queen of Perforated Paper Designs Claudia Dutcher of Dutch Treat Designs. Here is her reply:
As for tearing the paper, there is a trick you can use. If it is in an area that will be stitched, take a small piece of scotch tape and put it on that area on the back side of the paper. Then, just stitch over the tape, carefully, poking out the holes out with a small sharp needle before or as you stitch. If you have a tear on the edge, use tape on the back. You can cover the edge boo boo with a matte when it is framed. If you have a tear somewhere else other than a stitching area, you might want to add an initial or a motif to that spot.that is the same color as the paper if you don't want it to call attention to that area. The tapes we have today will be good on the back for a long time before and if they react to the paper. If the tear is on a stitched area, then the stitches cover the problem spot. Try this and see if it works for you before you order another piece of paper.
Things to take into consideration
Monochromatic & Multi-colored:
if you are stitching large areas and color placement is not necessary, you may want to PRE-CUT the fiber.
if stitching a symmetrical design and you want the colors to repeat the same in the each area - DON’T PRECUT
Additional Symmetrical design considerations:
How many ply are in the over-dyed?
Single ply fibers (Caron Wildflowers) require careful consideration. It can be difficult to obtain consistent color repeat in symmetrical designs. Not all color repeats are consistent in length. In other words, the orange may be 3 inches in one section and 5 in another section.
if the designer wants you to use certain colors in certain areas? DON’T PRECUT.
Design repeats are equal to or less than the number of ply, life is much easier. Example: your design has 4 repeats and you have a fiber with 12 ply (Caron Waterlilies). Cut your fiber in a length you are comfortable working with. To ensure symmetrical color placement keep track of which end of the fiber you start your stitching with.
Design repeats are less than the number of ply in the fiber. Example: your design has 4 repeats and your fiber has 3 ply (Caron Watercolors). You may want to consider having the color repeat be a mirror images, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
One last note, if you are not precutting your fiber, it is strongly recommended that you wind the fiber onto a bobbin. Caution when wrapping on bobbins, not all colors may show. Uncut fibers can very easily become a knotted mess. We have all spent hours trying to untangle one of these messes.
The bottom line is the “Stitch Police” have been laid off due to budget cuts!!!!! To quote Linda D, the first instructor at Kelsey’s “the minute you put needle to fabric or canvas, it is your design and you are free to do what you like”. Let's all relax and stitch for enjoyment.
Kelsey's Needle Krafts
447A Main St Placerville Ca 95667 (530) 622-6205 firstname.lastname@example.org