What it is:
Dye-Lishus® cotton is undyed cotton that has been pre-treated to modify the cellulose so that it attracts and holds dyes without the use of extra chemicals. It is pre-scoured and behaves as if pre-mordanted. It is available in spinning fiber, yarn and pre-patterned fabrics for quilting and sewing.
Why it's important:
Textile dyeing and finishing are responsible for almost 20% of the water pollution world wide. You can make a difference by making your own clothing and dyeing it with natural dyes using Dye-Lishus® cotton fiber, yarn, or specialty fabrics made in the USA with organic cotton. You can use any dye and any dyeing technique to make it yourself, and make it your own.
How it works:
The cotton is treated in the fiber form before being spun or woven. The cellulose structure is changed so that it behaves as if scoured and mordanted in preparation for dyeing before it goes to the mill; there is no chemical added to the fiber and it is Oekotex certifiable. Woven side by side with untreated cotton, the Dye-Lishus® cotton yarn will accept the dye and the untreated cotton may stay white or may take on a pale tint, depending on the dye and the concentration. Using it with untreated cotton allows the development of woven patterns. After dyeing the cloth, the fabric looks the same as yarn dyed cloth.
What dyes to use:
Acid dyes, including food coloring. Acid dyes are commonly used on silk and wool, not cotton, but they work on Dye-Lishus® cotton.
Direct dyes, such as Cushings. Direct dyes will also dye untreated cotton. Untreated cotton dyed with direct dyes may bleed. Dye-Lishus® cotton will not bleed.
Fiber reactive dyes, such as Procion MX. The treatment was developed for fiber reactive dyes.
Natural dyes. Extracts, pastes, and liquid forms are available, or collect your own. Any book on natural dyes will have a list of suitable natural sources and will explain how to harvest and extract the dyestuff.
Union dyes, such as Rit, Dylon, iDye. Union dyes contain both acid and direct dyes , the acid component is usually wasted on cotton, but in the case of Dye-Lishus® cotton, both are taken up. The fabrics, with treated and untreated cotton, will show light and dark. The light areas will have taken up just the direct, and the darker areas will have taken up both the acid and direct.
How to dye it:
Simply wash the yarn or fabric in hot soapy water. For a really quick wetting out, make a solution of 1 part alcohol to 2 parts water. Ethyl alcohol from the pharmacy or Everclear are preferred. Submerge the fiber, it only takes seconds, then rinse well.
Add dye to warm tap water and enter the wet fiber. You can also use cold water if you allow it to soak a few hours.
You need much less dye than usual; if you are using natural dyes, you can use the amount called for in a wool recipe.
For sliver, use 1/2 or less dye than the dye package instructions suggest.
For yarn, use 1/4 or less dye.
For the fabrics, use 1/8 on the semisolid and 1/16 on the others.
Stir and soak for 15 minutes in hot water, or soak longer in cold water.
Rinse, dry, done!
Questions? See the FAQ page.