My experiments are not rocket science, nor do they produce startling new information, but I find it helpful to document what I find as I experiment with Procion MX dye, and perhaps some other new dyers will too. Here are the conclusions I drew from this exercise:
1. It's all about proportion. Mud is not a foregone conclusion whenever the 3 primaries meet. There were some complementary mixtures which made pleasing colors where the proportions were not 1:1.
|Base green/overdye red = ick|
2. To my taste there are more positive results when the base range is analogous to the overdye.
|Base yellow/overdye analogous = all good results|
3. The overdye which was successful across the greatest range of base colors was a pure blue. Further tests needed to determine if this was because it was blue, or because it was not a mixture. All the other overdyes were mixtures of pure colors (except the dirty green, which had grey). Almost all the base colors were mixtures of pure colors.
|Blue overdyed with indigo|
4. When working with mixtures it is really important to keep in mind what makes up the mixture in order to have a successful overdye. Green made from blue and yellow will introduce very different elements than a green made from yellow and black.
These little pops of turquoise are not turquoise dye, but blue overdye reacting with the yellow which separated out in the red mixture. The result makes for some stunning pops of unexpected contrast.
5. Grey is a whole other ball game. There is a new pure grey that has just been manufactured, but this isn't it. This is a grey that tends to green. That means it is great with the blues and greens and teals, but turns pinks and purples a dull brownish mauve. From left to right, orange and grey - an interesting mushroom; teal and grey - never met a teal I didn't like; red and grey - unappetizing brownish mauve. Looking forward to testing with the new grey to be able to grey things without adding unintentional elements into the mix.
|Lime green overdyed with teal|
On the 4% piece (left) you can see the mottled look created by dye sites which are not completely full. This is particularly obvious when you dye with the low water immersion method. This red was overdyed with a dilute dirty green made of yellow and grey. On the 8% sample there are barely any overdye marks (bottom right). On the 4% sample there are some interesting greeny/grey marks (bottom left).
Even more dramatic is the indigo overdye.
The 4% solution (left) allows for a strong indigo overtone in the overdye (bottom left). On the sample dyed at 8% (right) there are only traces of indigo by itself in the overdye (bottom right), although the base color has darkened considerably.
One last point is the fabric used. Because I planned to dye so much, I went cheap and used my Joann's coupon to buy the Premium Legacy muslin. This is not mercerized, and gets a fuzzy look after a tough dye workout. If I had used mercerized print cloth, I would have had brighter results.
Lots more questions to answer! To the dye pots for more experiments!!