Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Last Day of Dyeing Before Heading Back North!!

My friend Dianne and I spent the day doing both a small overdyeing sequence and a couple of gradations.  The gradation dyeing which I have talked about in previous blogs is based upon low water immersion dyeing (Ann Johnston) and her books were my first "bibles" of dyeing. Ann uses tsps and tbsps for measuring dyes.   I was converted to measuring my dyes scientifically by Carol Soderlund in the class where she has you do sequenced overdyeing of three color palettes.  Carol didn't use low water immersion dyeing but did emphasize the measuring of the dyes by weighing rather than using tablespoons or teaspoons.  The reason to use more accurate measuring is that you can duplicate your results and the dyes weigh all different amounts if you keep the volume (a tablespoon or a teaspoon) constant.  So a tsp of yellow might weigh 7 gms but a tsp of blue would weight 5 gms.  Ann is extremely used to the dyes and how to  play with them using volume measures. I like the predictability of measuring by weight better although like all dyers, sometimes I just play!!

The dye houses express the colors you will get using their dyes in % OWG (of weight of goods) which means if one of the dyes (One of the yellow dyes from ProChem for example -you can click on this link) says that the color shown is 4% OWG, this means that it will take 4 gms of the dye to dye 100 gms of fabric or 8 gms  of dye to dye 200 gms of fabric.  I noticed that they are expressing how many tsps of dye you need per pound of fabric as well now.  If you are using one of the less expensive fabrics from Dharma (about 70 x 70 thread count), a yard of fabric will weigh about 100 gms.  So again, 4% will require 4 gms of dye per yard of fabric.  If your yard of fabric weighed 150 gms, it would take 6 gms of dye to get 4% OWG, etc.  6/150 = .04 or 4%.

In dyeing the most important ratio is the weight of the dye per weight of fabric.  The amount of water used really doesn't figure into the calculation of how dark a fabric will be (although with regular immersion dyeing,  if you  use a lot of water, you will need to add salt to achieve the same results or the dye will bond with the water).  With low water immersion dyeing, you need enough water to cover the fabric and allow it to move around.  From Ann Johnston, this amounts to about 2 cups of water per yard of fabric (with the appropriate grams of dyes dissolved in it) and 1 cup of soda ash solution after the fabric has sat in the dye for about an hour.  She does it somewhat differently soaking the fabric and then using a cup of dye solution while I prefer just using 2 cups of water per yard of fabric.

The above picture is the results of an "extreme overdyeing" session.  Instead of using first five colors and then overdyeing with different five colors (which result in 35 different colors), we only did 3 overdyed with 3.  The first three were a gradation of Navy Blue.  The concentrations were 6%, 2% and .66%.  In each pot were four pieces of fabric from each of us.  We rinsed these out and then prepared 3% solutions of Sun Yellow,Golden Yellow and Mixing Red.  We resorted the fabrics so that from each of the first set of pots, we saved out one piece, place one in the Sun Yellow, one in the Golden and one in the Mixing Red.  We did this with each of the fabrics from the first dyeing.  The results of this overdyeing are what is pictured -- you get 15 different colors.  

We also did some gradations -- both of us chose different gradations.  This first one is a gradation of Intense blue (the first pot had an intensity of 10% and is halved as you get lighter.  Into each pot, 3 gms of Leaf Geen were added.  

If you look closely, you will see a damask like pattern in the fabrics.  This fabric is called Bazin and is used extensively in Africa.  Dianne introduced it to me as she lived in the Cameroons while in the Foreign Service.  She sold me some of her precious stock but I did find it online as well and bought 10 yards (it is on both Amazon and ebay very surprisingly).  I wanted to make sure that the fabric I bought from Amazon was the same as what I got from Dianne as it dyes beautifully and adds some pattern to the fabric,.  It is 48 inches wide and about the same weight as a better commercial cotton with almost a sateen finish.  It is not cheap however.  (It was very cheap when Dianne bought it in Africa though.)  It comes in 10 yard lengths and is heavily waxed and perfumed (although I suspect the wax is more like some kind of starch as it washes out easily.)  The experiment was a success and I may buy more at some point.  It is slightly cheaper on ebay -- no shipping charge but it comes directly from China so does take a little time (but not a lot.)

This was my second gradation.  It was a gradation of New Black with Strongest Red added in an equal amount to each pot (3 gms/yard).  Dianne pointed out that Navy Blue is about the strongest of the dyes we have used and I think she is right!!  If you look at the first picture, you can see how dark those fabrics on the bottom row are.

I did like the darkest of this gradation as it was a really rich dark brown.  This Strongest Red might not be too strong anymore as it is quite old and I have found that the reds exhausts faster than the other colors.

Another blog I also talk about this technique is - Blog on dyeing.

As an aside, this is blog number 998 so 2 more and I will have done 1000 entries in the last eight years.  Whew -- and I hated writing through school and college!!


MarchAnn said...

Beth I love love love the green gradation it is so beautiful. The reds are nice too but the greens are just the best.

NW Newbie said...

I love this yellow to green gradation made with the African Bazin fabric.
I am very new to dyeing and will receive my first procion mx dyes from Chem Pro tomorrow. I wanted to check with you before I start dyeing. In the photo the gradation goes from light yellow to green but you state the the hues used were 10% brilliant blue gradation with a constant leaf green, I just don't see how green and blue can make yellow, so I just wanted to check with you. I also have another question when going for a 2 color gradation and not wanting a solid hues but a more mottled effect you say less movement, But I was wondering do you still use urea water to mix the powders in LWI when desiring a mottled effect of the 2 colors. Thanks in advance Love your blog you are an inspiration to me wanting to try to dye let alone make gradation dyeing a reality.

Elizabeth said...

Leaf green is a very light yellow green. By the time you have halved the concentration of the intense blue 7 times, it has a concentration of about .01 % so the lightest color will almost be the color of the very light green. The 3% that I added to each one becomes a more and more concentrated overpowering the blue. It really isn't yellow although yellow and blue certainly make green. I think there is another blog post that illustrates how I do these gradations.

Elizabeth said...

Here is the post with a little more detail about my process --