Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dyeing a gradient with Procion MX

Lots of dyeing = little blogging!

The chemist has been tie/ice-dyeing her heart out. So nice when you can go home and leave the washout to someone else..On the other hand it is wonderful to mix dyes and have someone to hand you clean utensils all the time! She took all the pics on her phone, so I will have to browbeat ask her to do a guest post some time. It is so interesting the difference between us. She is all about the folds and I am all about the color!

Lemon//Grape gradient
Here is a gradient I dyed with lemon yellow and grape, both pure colors. It is magical to see how the ambers and browns emerge in the middle of the range. None of these are colors I particularly want to reproduce, but is was good to see what happens.

To dye a gradient figure out how much total dye you will use for each piece of fabric, based on the weight of the fabric. See Paula Burch's invaluable site for information. For convenience let's say 60ml total. Determine how many steps you want in your gradient. Divide 60ml in half, 30ml, and that's your midpoint where you are adding equal quantities of each color. Parse out the rest of the graduations based on how big a color step you want. You also now have a recipe for each step. 

If you liked any one of these colors, but didn't like the range, you could now try adding black or water to the recipe for the color you liked to make tints and shades. I like to use a bigger gradient normally, as I am interested in where the color starts to change. Sometimes it takes several steps, but with some of the stronger colors even a touch of the second color pushes the first color in a whole new direction. Infinite possibilites, so little time! Of course when making a shade with black, the black you use will influence the color. There is a good exploration of the undertone of blacks here.

Here is an example of a ratio creating a 7 step gradient, with 5 mixed and 2 pure samples.L is lemon yellow and G is pure Grape. Each time you are changing the ratio by 10ml or 1/6. 


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Dyeing thread or yarn with Procion MX dye

Here's how I dye yarn for couching.

On a piece of shelf liner (Bed, Bath and Beyond has the widest I've found so far) put separate patches of dyes in the colors you wish to use. My stash is short on blues, so that's what I'm dyeing here.

Preparing to dye yarn
 Remember how we organized the yarn so it wouldn't be a tangled mess after dyeing? You can see the synthetic wool I used for tying. It will not take the dye and will make it easy to untie the bundle after dyeing. The yarn is already soda soaked. In fact it is dripping wet. I find that soda saturated fiber takes the dye best. If it is dry it will take a great deal of dye to get good coverage.

 Now I take my gloved hands and mix and mingle the dye as desired to make the colors I want in the yarn. I prefer to work with small amounts of dye and add more as needed, since the soda ash from the fiber is going to be all over the work surface. This will contaminate the dye, so I don't want to put any dye back into my dyestock as the soda ash will start reacting with the dye stock. What's on the shelf liner stays on the shelf liner! Once I have the colors I want, it's batch and wash as normal. I tend to handwash the yarn as I don't want felting, and since I use it for couching it's ok if it's not as colorfast as the standard I hold my fabric to. Commercially dyed variegated yarns and threads tend to shoot for a one inch change in tone/color, so I aim for that too. Ish.
Yarn dyed by pulling the colors together from pools of dye concentrate