Monday, February 13, 2012

Dyeing 101

I recently signed up to take Candied Fabrics Dyeing 101 online class on fiber reactive dyes. I use these dyes to dye yarn for my weaving projects, but have never really gotten as comfortable with them as I am with the acid dyes for wool and other animal fibers.

The focus of this class is mixing primary colors to make the colors you want. I think the instruction is excellent. Candy has both videos and a written PDF for each lesson and there is a Q&A where she is quick to answer questions.
In our second dyeing session, we mixed the primary colors in as many ways as possible using a total of ten whole parts. Each mixed color is x parts yellow primary, y parts blue primary and z parts red primary, where x,y,and z are whole numbers that sum to 10. There are a total of 66 swatches in this set of samples.

It took me maybe three hours to prepare and label all the swatches, about four hours to do the dyeing in another session from the labeling and the washing and rising and ironing probably another three hours. The time commitment for this is significant, but look at the valuable product! With this and the knowledge gained from the gradient exercise, I should be able to make yarn colors I want for my weaving.

Turquoise, Light Red, Lemon Yellow, white swatch is one I missed

Of course, I put my own twists on this. I used the same flagging tape that I use on my handspun skeins to label each swatch. I also cut the swatches twice as big so I will have some fabric leftover to play with once we assemble our "Candiotic Table" which will give us a valuable permanent record of our color recipes.

I also did the actual dyeing in a bowl, and dropped each swatch in a plastic bag for curing, discarding the little bit of leftover dye and fixative. This let me fit all my swatches into one plastic shoebox for curing in a warm place. I actually batched the swatches in a cardboard box with a heating pad to be sure they stayed warm and really cured well.

When it came to rinsing out, I washed each swatch and put it back into the plastic sandwich bag and added a little water for the initial soak. I put the bags in the plastic shoe boxes to catch any leaks. This did not take hardly any space and seems to have worked well.

Our next assignment is another 66 swatch set with different primaries. I have my swatches labeled with a different color of flagging tape to be sure they don't get mixed up with the first set, and hopefully, I will dye them tomorrow.


Thelma said...

Yummy colors! Did you post your pick in flickr and upload it to the dyeing 101 flickr group? I have mine labeled and ready to dye, hoping to get started tomorrow. I am so loving this class.

Laura said...

These turned out great! I also cut my swatches bigger so I didn't have to divide all the measurements in half, because I knew that would mess me up.

Candied Fabrics said...

Oh, this looks fabulous!!! And I love your 5" x 10" swatch! I shall do that next time!