Friday, October 2, 2015

Consistent color in dye results with Procion MX (good luck with that)

So here's a list of factors that have to be consistent to get the same dye results over and over with Procion MX (and I'm sure I've missed a number of others - feel free to add in the comments). Some of them are more critical than others, but it sure gives you a new respect for folks who can recreate the same colors over and over again.

The list encompasses all the elements of dyeing. Change one of these elements between dye sessions and you might find your colors change, maybe subtly, maybe dramatically.

  • Mercerized or not?
  • The same weight?
  • The same type?
  • PFD? Scoured?
  • Wet or dry?
Soda Ash
  • Fabric pre-soaked?
  • Added with dye?
  • Added after the fabric has sat in the dye for a bit? How long?
Dye powder
  • How old is it?
  • How accurately does your scale measure?
Dye stock
  • Did you strain colors that are known to freckle? 
  • What was the temperature of the water used to make the dye stock?
  • Did you use the same measuring utensils?
  • How did you mix the dye stock? blender? shaking the bottle?
  • How old is the dye stock?
  • If it isn't fresh, how was it stored?
  • What strength is it?
  • Did it come into contact with any soda ash?
  • How hard is your water? Did you add metaphos?
  • Did you add urea?
Adding the dye
  • How aggressively did you manipulate the fabric?
  • How many times did you manipulate the fabric during the batching process?
  • Some dyes settle out easily. Did you stir the dye stock before adding to the fabric?
  • How did you arrange the fabric in the container?
  • Did you use the same sized containers? 
  • Did you add salt?
  • What was the ambient temperature during batching?
  • How much liquid was in the container during batching?
  • How long did you batch for? 
  • Was the batching fabric pressed down or free floating?
Yet another reason I love overdyeing! It evens out subtle inconsistencies. 

Each dyer finds his or her own best practices. Keeping notes helps remind you what you did, especially during a hectic dyeing session.

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