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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Dyeing Experiment du Jour

I dyed gradations today. Boring work. Not only do I dye the same color over & over again, but instead of getting the multiple shades and the wonderful textures that make hand dyed fabric so... well, so wonderful(!), I have to work to keep each length of fabric mostly the same shade. I know that beautiful quilts have been made using gradations. Quilts that are stunning & eye-catching. And those designs appeal to a huge group of quilters who want those gradations.

Personally, I would rather use two oranges and a yellow than a gradation. Or five different pinks plus a couple more pinks with hints of yellow & orange. But, since I'm dyeing this fabric to sell, I need to dye what my customers want, so I'm dyeing gradations. (FYI: I also dye & sell "for me" fabrics!)

I experimented with purple today. I *think* that it is going to be fabulous. It looks that way in the dye bath. I'm hoping the color holds through rinsing and drying, since both processes lighten the color. Fingers are crossed! That, however, was not my Experiment du Jour.

My experiment was done with the leftover purple dye. I've been wondering how the amount of water used affects the color, so today, I decided to find out. I measured two identical amounts of dye stock (3 T each). To one, I added water to get a very generous almost 2 cups of liquid. To the 2nd dye stock, I added water to give me a very scant 1 cup of liquid. I dyed two 1-yd lengths of Kona cotton. I added the dye to the fabric and manipulated both pieces quite a bit. I wanted to eliminate some of the shading & texture so I could see just color. My hypothesis is that I will get the same color in both lengths, but the fabric with more liquid will have more even color over the entire 1-yd length.

Tune in tomorrow for the results!

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