Several months ago, I accidentally spilled my morning berries on my favorite white turtleneck sweater. No matter how I tried, I could not get the stain out.
The unsightly stain in an embarrassing place inspired me to drop some white thread in the bowl of berry juice. I love the shade I obtained by staining my crochet thread with breakfast!
If I were to wash a berry-stained snowflake, chances are not one iota of the color would remain. But snowflakes get stiffened, not washed, and coating the flakes with a shiny gloss further protects the new color.
Thread may be stained with just about anything. Try putting a spool of white thread unprotected in your purse for a week or two, and you'll be surprised at the things that mark up the thread!
Fruit juices make attractive crochet thread colors. Vegetables and plant roots also will produce some unexpected shades. My grandmother stained her thread with tea when I was very young, and I've enjoyed experimenting with what I saw her do so long ago. Leaves and petals create some interesting effects when pressed against thread, finished snowflakes or even fabric.
Staining is different than dyeing, unless you are accidentally staining clothing. Staining will fade and sometimes completely wash out of crochet thread (or sewing fabric) without proper mordants, which set the color. The only time a stain will refuse to entirely leave is when it's in a place you don't want it. If you like the stain, it will eventually come out. That's just the way it works.
Stained snowflakes may be coated with fingernail polish, varnish, shellac or epoxy, and even the glue/water mixture will provide fairly adequate color protection for snowflake display (as long as you don't leave them in direct sunlight for extended periods of time). Liquid starch can cause stain color (and even some professional dyes) to run, so I don't recommend that method of stiffening for hand-stained snowflakes unless you have a surface that won't be damaged by leaking colors. Intentionally causing color to run is yet another way of achieving unique snowflake colors. Try drawing on a snowflake with a regular felt tip pen, then stiffen with liquid starch, and watch the color spill over into the uncolored areas and spread into different shades.
White thread is not required when staining or dyeing. Attractive effects may be obtained with off-white, ecru, gray or just about any color under the sun. For a real treat, try staining variegated thread.
Don't be afraid to get creative when coloring crocheted items that will be stiffened and never washed. Have fun with it!
More staining information is available here. Feast your eyes on some of the beautiful shades dyers are able to achieve naturally here.
Several snowflakers have asked where I get the colors of thread I use in my projects. I dye some of my thread on my own, but I also buy from indie dyers. Here are links to sites where I have purchased hand-colored thread. I have not received any compensation for listing these sites, and there may be others of which I'm unaware. These are listed in alphabetical order and not in any order of preference.
Sara's Colorwave Yarn
I am continuing my pink theme this month in honor of the Goatmother and all those valiantly battling breast cancer or any form of cancer. My thoughts and prayers for strength and comfort are with them. And while we're on the topic, I just scheduled my icky mammy, and the fateful appointment landed on the day before Ride the Rockies!!! At least my saddle won't be the sorest thing the next day... Have you done your mammy?!?
This is the first time I've tried using size 50 thread and a size 14 hook since my cast came off. My stitching isn't as tight as it was prior to breaking my wrist, yet I was able to work up a matched set of tiny snowflakes to turn into earrings.
You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!
Finished Size: 2.5 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 8 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, glue, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line
Ch 3, sl st into 1st ch OR make magic ring.
Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1st dc in 3/dc cluster), [yo and draw up loop through ring, yo and bring through 2 loops on hook] 2 times, yo and bring through all 3 loops on hook (starting dc cluster made), ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, *[yo and draw up loop through ring, yo and bring through 2 loops on hook] 3 times, yo and bring through all 4 loops on hook (dc cluster made), ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook; repeat from * 4 times; sl st in starting dc cluster. Pull magic circle tight.
Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1st dc in 3/dc cluster), work starting dc cluster in same cluster as sl st, ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, ch 3, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, ch 4, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, *in next dc cluster work dc cluster, ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, ch 3, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, ch 4, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook; repeat from * around four times; sl st in starting dc cluster; bind off. Weave in ends.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.
Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.
Mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.