Space Dyeing

This is a technique used to give yarns a multi-colored effect. While a typical skein of yarn is the same color throughout, whereas a skein of space dyed yarn is two or more colors repeated throughout the length of the yarn. In space dyeing, a mordant is used in order to help fix the dye to the yarn. Because different colors of dye require different types of mordants, this makes it possible to dye the same skein of yarn different colors. Space dyed yarn is most commonly used for knitting and crocheting.

Dyeing Techniques

Dyeing is the process of adding color to textile products like fibers, yarns, and fabrics. Dyes are obtained from flowers, nuts, berries and other forms of vegetables and plants as well as from animal and mineral sources. These are known as natural dyes. The other class of dyes is known as synthetic dyes. These are based on a particular type of chemical composition.

History of Dyeing

Dyeing with plants and insects has been traced back more than 5000 years in China. Additionally, there is evidence of early dyeing processes from Pakistan, where traces of vegetable dyeing processes on cotton pieces have been discovered. The dye found in this case was madder, which was introduced to many regions through trade. Natural insect dyes such as Tyrian purple and plant-based dyes such as indigo and madder were important elements of the economies of Asia and Europe until the discovery of man-made synthetic dyes in the mid 19th century. The first synthetic dye was mauveine, made in 1856 and derived from coal tar.

Dyeing Techniques in Today’s Fashion

Matthew Williamson and Diane Von Furstenberg’s Spring 2008 RTW lines both include great examples of ombré dyeing techniques.

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Written by Hope Maxwell

Hope Maxwell is a graduate from the College of Textiles at NC State University (Raleigh, NC, USA) and she currently works as assistant technical designer.

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