Do I really need a thickener?

I’ve hand-painted some yarn before, but now I want to try with some acid dyes. The book I have suggested using a thicker to prevent spreading - like gum tragacanth or Superclear. Do I really need it? Or is there something else I can use that I don’t have to order? Actually the only thing I want to do is prevent some of the puddling I sometimes get - I don’t really mind color spreading. Any ideas???

Thanks a bunch!:mrgreen:

hello threesmom. i’ve actually never heard of using a thickener, but i guess it would work for keeping the colors less runny and prevent muddy colors.

i’ve hand painted with food dyes and vinegar and made sure to tie off each color section firmly before i started. that seems to work well enough.

i’d say just give it a try and see if you like the results with no thickener

hope that helped a bit!

Thickeners are generally used in silk painting… and by painting I mean the kind of painting you do when you want to achieve a picture. I wouldn’t use it for yarn dyeing, it seems a bit of a waste. If you want to avoid puddling, be a little more stingy with the dye, be a little more careful in how you apply it and elevate the surrounding sections that you’re not dyeing (put them on a plate or in a bowl or something). Dye one color at a time, let the yarn soak up the dye then lift it and move it and clean up the mess underneath before starting with the next color.

You can also use a strip of cloth (I’ve used muslin) to tightly wrap either end of the section you’re working on to help prevent it from pulling up the dye.

Another thing you can do is only put colors next to each other that will achieve pleasing results… red next to yellow will give you orange, blue next to red will give you purple, etc.

thanks for the help! I went ahead and did it as I had done in the past, just wringing the yarn a bit and making bigger skeins to start with. I had never heard of using the thickener either until I read about it in this book on hand-dyeing yarns; I couldn’t see why, as I usually like the bleeding effect. I had hoped it would help with the other issue, but I seemed to have managed that with wringing better, and monitoring the dye a bit.

Thanks so much!!:hug: