Hand dyed thread, so special for tatting and other lace work, begins as plain white thread (of high quality) and messy dye (I use Fiber-Reactive dye).
I wear a protective face mask to avoid breathing in the dry dye powder until it has been mixed into liquid form.
The wet dye color looks much darker than the finished color will look on the thread.
The way I make hand dyed thread (HDT) is to lay out the skeins onto plastic wrap and paint the dye on with a brush. There are other methods too, but this is how I do it. For cotton thread, I just roll up the skeins into the plastic and let them "cure".
If I'm dyeing a yarn with a wool content, I add some vinegar to the dye, since wool fiber needs an low pH, as opposed to the high pH required by cotton. Then I give the plastic-wrapped wool a "steambath" for 45 minutes.
Then, the skeins are rinsed, rinsed, rinsed! Washed and rinsed some more, to make sure that the finished HDT is clean and will not "bleed" color when it is in use.
The straightened skeins are left to air dry, then twisted into attractive skeins to show.