Tentakulum Painters Threads Secrets

Of course, the Tentakulum Painters Threads Secrets don’t tell you how we make our treasures. But we’ll give you some information here that will help you understand all the special features of hand-dyed threads a little better.

Vegetable fibers, i.e. cellulose-based fibers, are fixed in a basic way. Animal fibers, i.e. protein-based fibers, are acid-fixed.

These two basic principles of hand dyeing are responsible for the different color characteristics that occur with our colors, but of course also with all other dyed threads. With the threads in the Tentakulum Painters Threads product range, these differences are further enhanced by the special “hand-painting”.

Our Tentakulum Painters Threads are made exclusively by hand in our small dyeing manufactory. We use so-called fiber-reactive dyes. Reactive because they “react” with the fiber, i.e. create a new chemical compound. As a result, they guarantee relatively high color stability, good fixing strength and high washability of excess color.

However, we have to qualify the word “high” in terms of color fastness when it comes to hand dyeing. Hand dyers may only use chemical additives to a limited extent, which anchor the colors even better in the thread. In industrial dyeing, the dye is “shot” into the threads at high pressure, so it penetrates deeper into the fibers and can “ask” more atoms of the fiber to join with it to form a compound. In hand dyeing, the dye is applied to the surface of the thread and pressed into the yarn with only as much pressure as the person standing behind it can exert. This means that more fiber and color molecules automatically remain in their old compounds. Somehow in contrast to modern human relationships…

These molecules then obviously no longer feel like staying with the threads and simply wash themselves out…. And again this similarity with human behavior… Of course, much to the chagrin of light-colored embroidery backgrounds and white T-shirts in the same wash cycle, which do not like this behavior of the molecules at all.

The chemical reaction during dyeing also explains why each material reproduces the color differently.

Silk and other threads that consist of protein, e.g. all animal fibers, usually reproduce the color brown as a reddish tone, while cotton makes the brown appear lighter than Rayon.

We deliberately opted for a brown color here because brown is something “special” anyway.
We put a small amount of powder on a white cloth and dissolved it with a little water. This is also how it is done when dyeing, the color powder is mixed with water to form a liquid solution. Here you can see very clearly how many individual colors make up this color. All these small pigments now react with each other during dyeing. If we now mix this mixture with another color, even more unpredictable compounds are created!

Each material also absorbs the color differently. Even fibers made from the same base material reproduce colors differently depending on how they were processed (spun, filament fiber, twisted, etc.).

A practical example

Color 129 Friedrich

Painters Glory Vierfachgarn Friedrich Jpg

Cotton РMouliné

Painters Glory Mouline Friedrich Jpg

Cotton – Cotton √° Broder

Painters Glory Soie D Algerr Friedrich Jpg

Silk – Soie d’Alger

Painters Glory Kruewellwolle Friedrich Jpg

Wool – Crewel Wool

Painters Glory Shimmer Friedrich Jpg

Rayon – Shimmer

Painters Glory Single Loop Friedrich Jpg

Rayon – SingleLoop

Painters Glory Metallics Tresse 04 Friedrich Jpg

Cupro polyester
Braided Metallics #4

Braun Jpg

brown color powder slightly moistened

The best way to tell the difference between industrially dyed and hand-dyed threads is to cut through the thread: Hand-dyed threads, especially thicker threads, usually have a lighter core as the dye does not penetrate all the fibers. The color is only applied to the surface, the color liquid does not always penetrate the entire thread.

Humans cannot achieve the same precision as machines – fortunately! Isn’t it an artistically inspiring moment when I keep discovering different colors, even though they should actually be the same? Heide Stoll-Weber, owner of “farbstoff” and internationally renowned artist who has developed a beautiful collection of hand-dyed fabrics, once said to me: “And then it’s always so exciting when you’re waiting in front of the washing machine and don’t know how the fabric will come out today!

Of course, humans cannot work as precisely as a machine when applying paint. When I apply three colors to one thread, it’s relatively easy to keep the spacing relatively even … but I can’t prevent the color from quickly running into an area that I have actually already dyed or wanted to dye with another color. And yellow and red become orange or yellow and blue become green.

Hand dyers are artists just like the people who use our products. We don’t really like the eternal sameness of our products and would like to encourage many other textile designers to embrace the many variations that the use of hand-dyed materials makes possible. And on the individual results that can be achieved with it.

At a time when globalization means that I can find MacDonalds or H&M and Aldi in the furthest corner of the world, it’s nice that we have the opportunity to reflect on our own individuality. Working with hand-dyed materials is one way to achieve this.

Tentakulum Painters Threads Secrets

Various “manifestations” of the color 101 Macke (shown in silk – Soie d’Alger). This is one of the most difficult colors because it contains yellow as well as red and blue. A fact that every book on hand dyeing warns against putting together…

The result after washing is also beyond our direct control, as the water always flows downwards. This process also transports dyes, which in turn influence the color nuances. It is particularly noticeable that smaller sections to which a color is applied blend together more strongly than just two or three adjacent sections.

Our colors often contain pigment particles that persist in the coloring solution and are invisible to the naked eye. During washing, however, they suddenly unfold and unexpected color variations can occur, such as a brown spot in the middle of red or a blue spot in the middle of brown. Our dyeing method, which can be described as “painting” rather than “dyeing”, treats each meter more or less individually. The distribution of colors therefore varies greatly. Even if the blue is sometimes dark, sometimes light, and the red appears sometimes more pink, sometimes more magenta, all our colors harmonize wonderfully with each other and can be combined excellently with single-colored threads.

TIP: It is advisable to always purchase one or two extra bobbins to ensure that no threads are missing from a particular color bath at the end of the project. You can use the scraps to quickly create small works of art for yourself or others by working them with a few stitches.

Picasso 1 Jpg

109 Picasso in Pearl Cotton #8 – sometimes light – sometimes dark – although the mixture of the dyeing liquid has not changed

GrandmaMoses Mattgar SoftCotton Perlgarn PearlCotton 08 Jpg

115 GrandmaMoses
top: Pearl cotton #8 (mercerized cotton)
below: Soft Cotton (non-mercerized cotton)

Various factors, which have nothing to do with the artistic creativity of the dyer, have a significant influence on the result of a dye lot. These include the nature of the water (soft water produces stronger colors), the humidity (high humidity makes it more difficult for the colors to penetrate the textile material), the pre-treatment of the threads (for example, the proportion of mercerizing lye on cotton can vary and influence the colour reaction) and, last but not least, cosmic influences, whereby root days are unfavourable, flower days are favourable for cotton and fruit days are favourable for silk – an aspect that I have been testing intensively for months.

The color powders that we use to produce the dye solution are also not constant. The color “Jade” can sometimes be more Jade green, sometimes more Jade blue, while the color “Lemon” sometimes appears more yellow, sometimes more green-yellow. In addition, it occasionally happens that certain color powders are no longer available from the manufacturer, which leads to new experiments. It is often not possible to reproduce the color exactly. “Change is the only constant in life” – this sentence aptly describes the complexity of hand dyeing.

The nature of the colors also varies from delivery to delivery. What was previously reminiscent of colored sand may look rather floury the next time. Many of us hand dyers do not use grams, as measuring accuracy with conventional scales is difficult to achieve and time-consuming. Instead, we work with spoon measurements. But a spoonful of sand is much heavier than a spoonful of flour, and flour often tends to dissolve badly – and all the previous tests have been for nothing, so to speak!

Sage Pulver Jpg

This color powder is one of our most important primary colors: Green.

A delivery on the left, the next delivery on the right. In addition to the color, the consistency has also changed (see above), mealy on the left, sandy on the right.

Sage Skeins Jpg

Sometimes you are lucky and the coloration looks similar. Unfortunately, this was not the case here. What was previously blue-green is now yellow-green.

As you can imagine, we would now have to retest all mixtures containing this color. ….

Cezanne Perlgarn PearlCotton 08 Jpg

This is how different the color 121 Cezanne now looks, using the green shown above as the base color…
above: old color powder – below: new color powder

Many people know the best-known reactive fiber paints “Procion MX” – MX stands for mixture. There are only a few pure colors. Although these mixtures are produced by machine, they can also vary.

In order to obtain a specific color nuance, we now mix our favorites from these mixed colors. And if we now imagine, for example, that we are using a mixture of two sand-colored paints and one of these two colors is suddenly flour-like, then the ratio has to be completely redefined. The mixture cannot be shaken evenly either, as the heavier color naturally always sinks to the bottom. To our eyes, everything looks “as usual” at first, but the end result is often somewhat different. ….

A few more examples of difficult colors, that sometimes look like this and sometimes look different...

Niki Baumwolltresse BraidedCotton Jpg

Braided Cotton color 117 Niki

Kandinsky Seidenbaendchen Silkribbon 07 Jpg

Silk ribbon color 102 Kandinsky

GrandmaMoses Shimmer Jpg

Shimmer color 115 GrandmaMoses

We wish you lots of fun with our products!

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