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How to Dye, Dye-Lishus® Cotton Sliver

Dye-Lishus® cotton sliver is pre-mordanted so it makes it easy to dye. To space dye sliver, wash it in hot water.

Tie one end with a string about 12” long to use as as a leash. Cotton is stronger when wet, so you will be amazed at how well t will hold together.

You need a pot from your dye kitchen, a bowl, and two spoons, one metal, also from the dye kitchen. And some tongs.

Put the pot of water on the stove to boil. Put your bowl to the left of it, about half full of cold water. When the water in the pot boils, turn the heat down to where bubbles just dance on the bottom of the pot. Hold your leash with your left hand and put it under the curved part of the spoon handle. Use your tongs to put the spoon in the pot, still holding the leash. The spoon should sit on the bottom and when you pull the leash, your sliver should feed into the pot and under the curve of the spoon. I’m right handed, so I slowly pull the leash with my left hand and feed the sliver into the pot with my right. I feed it so the sliver slides down the right side of the pot, across the bottom, then through the spoon channel and up the left side and out. The water will be hot enough for the sliver to sink readily. Meaning it’s wetted out. Once the leash is out and into the bowl of water, you’ll need the second spoon or some other smooth utensil to pull the wet sliver and guide it into the bowl. It will be too hot to handle with bare hands. Once all the sliver is in the bowl, You can turn the heat off unless you are doing more. If doing more, get another bowl of water for it and continue. It goes pretty fast; you will have leisurely but continuous movements.

Now, take the bowl of water with the sliver in it to the sink. Pick up the tail end with your right hand and squeeze the sliver with your left. Now pull with your right while you hold that pressure. If you have an old wringer, that’s better, but fingers work and you were born with them. So continue now to pull the sliver with your right hand while you maintain pressure on the sliver with your fingers. If you squeeze too tight, of course it will pull apart, but you will have to squeeze pretty hard to do that. I just pile it in the sink.

Once you have it squeezed out, lay it out on plastic and squirt your dye on it. You can press it in, but just push, don’t massage. When you finish, fold the plastic and turn the whole package over. Apply dye to the back side just in case it didn’t all go through from the front.

When you are finished painting, fold the plastic over the top to keep it moist. You may let it sit overnight if you want, you may microwave it if you want color-in-a-minute, but usually an hour will do it.

Put the whole shebang in a bowl of cold water (if you put it in the microwave, wait until it is cool to rinse it), then squeeze it through your fingers again and lay it out to dry. It will still have water in it, but if you squeeze it again, the sliver will be more compact, but still spinnable. I layer a towel with an old pillowcase and lay it on that in the sun. The pillowcase keeps the terry loops in the towel from catching on the fibers. If it’s windy, put another lightweight smooth fabric on top and pin the edges together so it doesn’t fly around.

Have fun dyeing your Dye-Lishus® Cotton Sliver!

by Eileen Hallman, New World Textiles

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