Dye Experiment – Summer of 2008 First Swatches

I couldn’t stop thinking about trying to match the color from a photograph with Procion MX dyes.  Not wanting to wait for my dye order from Dharma to arrive, I selected a new color – one that would require dyes I already own.  Here is the result:

It’s not a stellar success, but I learned quite a bit. 

1 – It shocked the bejeebers out of me that the 100% silk and 100% cotton muslin were such totally different colors.  They were in the same container.  I thought they’d be the same color.  Soda ash was used to set the dye, and I prefer using citric acid when I dye silk, so that will be tested tomorrow.  I’ll mix the exact same dye proportions and see if using citric acid to set the dye will yield different results.

2 – The 3 separate dyes were mixed at 1% strength – so the math wouldn’t be hard – and I used ProChem’s Turquoise MX-G, Fuchsia MX-8B, and Sun Yellow MX-8G.  The fuchsia hit with lightening speed.  The other colors didn’t have a prayer of keeping up – especially the nortoriously slow to move turquoise. 

In an attempt to control that issue, the bottom 2 samples were dyed at the exact same DOS and dye concentrate proportions as the 2 samples above them, but the bottom 2 were dyed in a 3 step process.  First they were dyed in the yellow – batched, rinsed and washed, then dyed with the red – batched, rinsed and washed, and finally dyed with the turquoise – batched all day vs the one hour for the other 2 colors, rinsed and washed.

I really like the way the colors blend when you dye with one color at a time.  Yes, it takes a lot longer, but to my eye, the bottom 2 swatches are drop dead gorgeous.  I wish you could see the complete swatches up close and personal.  They really are gorgeous.

3 – The colors separated even though the dye concentrate was moved around every 15 minutes.  If you want even color, you have the go the route Carol Soderlund does – stir, stir, stir that liquid, and keep stirring it till the batching is complete.  It really only takes about 10-15 minutes for the majority of the dye to attach to the cloth – except for that pesky turquoise.

4 – There was some DMC Cotton Perle 12 wt embroidery thread in each of the containers also, and they turned out entirely different colors from the fabrics.  As soon as they are spooled up, I’ll take a photo and put that on the blog too. 

After 10 years of dyeing fabric and yarn, the surprises are still coming.  It will be exciting to see if today’s colors will turn out differently.  Instead of using the Roclon muslin, I switched to Robert Kaufman’s Bleached PFD white fabric.  Starting out with a white fabric base will hopefully match the color in the photograph better.


One Response to “Dye Experiment – Summer of 2008 First Swatches”

  1. Leigh Says:

    Diane, I just saw your message on the DyersLIST and had to come see. Very interesting! I have been working on a 2nd set of samples, experimenting with adjustments to my first blue recipe. I feel like I’m making progress and hope to have those done and photographed for a blog update on Monday. Like you I’ve been learning a lot from this exercise and I’m posting tomorrow about some of the things I’ve learned. I will follow your progress with great interest. I’m especially curious about how you’ll get on without the Turquoise MX-G. That one is a nuisance, but I’ll stick with it awhile longer. 🙂

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