Friday, October 5, 2007

Dyeing: Some Discsoveries

Amount woven yesterday: 7"
Amount woven to date: 3 yards + 26"

Yesterday I dyed a second run of orange to blue. This orange, however, I made less red than the original orange. In the dye pot this orange looked to be very distinctly yellow-orange rather than orange or red-orange. But when I took it out of the dye pot and let it dry, it was definitely orange, non yellow-orange. I definitely cannot trust the color I see in the dye pot!

Then I compared this orange silk with the earlier orange silk, which had seemed so red-orange. To my eye, there was only the slightest of differences. It seemed hardly worth the effort to go through this second dye run.

But then I compared the total of the two dye runs. Each time I added more blue to the respective oranges, the differences between the colors widened. As the colors moved towards the browns, there was no trace of the reds that appeared in the first dye run. It gives me two gorgeous browns. One is a rich goldeny oranged brown, warmer than the equivalent more reddish brown of the first sampling. The other is a deep neutral brown, more grayed than the equivalent neutral brown of the first dye run. And gray appeared at the 50/50 equation this time instead of at the 60B/40O equation of the first dye run.

I also did some value gradations with two neutral I had obtained. Each neutral was dyed at 2% depth of shade, a 1 % DOS, and a 0.5% DOS. The one group produced lovely silvery grays. These were done with the gray I had gotten by commbining orange and blue the first time, where the orange was really a red-orange. Looking at the colors developing in the dye pots I was sure I had gotten it wrong. I was getting blues. They were lovely. But they were definitely blues. But, after removing from the dye pot and letting dry, it was a new thing.

The other value gradation was of the golden brown I had obtained in the RedViolet + YellowGreen dye run. Here, as well as with the grays, I learned that there was no way I could tell what the color was by simply looking at the individual threads. I had to wind them onto my cardboard to get a solid batch of color. The I could see. And these too were beautiful.

I am so amazed that I had hit the jackpot with these combinations. I have never tried dyeing neutrals before. However, since I used 0.1% solutions instead of 0.01% solutions, I question my ability to accurately reproduce them with a bigger batch of yarn. I have figured out how I might increase my chances of getting what I want in the final project. I will make all the dye solutions I plan to use. I will make them in my usual 1% solutions. But then for the neutrals, I will take out enough from the colors I am using to create 0.01% solutions and test dye some small skeins. If the color comes out right with them, I can be a little more assured that the color will come out right in the big dye pot. I hope!

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