Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dyeing to get better.



Here are some pictures of my latest dyeing venture.

I am calling it a success, although if being graded by the dye police (please tell me they don’t exist) on results specific to the formula and photograph, I may have failed.

Here is the tale, with most of the details:

I had decided to try to create a couple of Wanda Kerr’s “Colours that Sing” from an old issue of RHM. I had used some of the “Glowing Wet Rocks” from that grouping which had been dyed by Barb D’Arcy. There truly is some luminosity to the colours and the “wandering method” really appealed to me.

I settled on "Mountain" and "Amethyst Cave" and got everything ready to go. Since I didn’t have a Turquoise (which I think was a Pro Chem), I decided to substitute the Magic Carpet Blue Green.

I haven’t ever dyed with anything other than Magic Carpet, so am blissfully naïve as to how different the colours by different manufacturers truly are. And Wanda is forever encouraging experimentation, so I figured that at the end of it all, I would have something wonderful – even if it wasn’t her specific wonderful.

How correct that assumption was. I think these colours are quite wonderful.
Surprisingly, they are quite close to one another when all is said and done.
And the formulas were very different. (In these pictures they look more different than they do in real life. That's Amethyst Cave on top and Mountain on bottom.)

When I pulled the Amethyst Cave out of the dryer, it looked so much like the first one I had done that I was laughing at myself and thinking that no matter what formula I start with, will I always wind up with the same colour. (I think that would be the Groundhog Day of dyeing – how funny would that be.) But I do like both these colours and they would work very nicely together in a piece – and go beautifully with the pinkish piece I dyed on the previous outing. And they are truly luminous, so the wandering method is definitely my new favourite.

Then I read something about aluminum pots and how they can affect results.
So I posted a query on The Welcome Mat to find out exactly what aluminum does and why it affects results. Have received many informative responses and appreciate the feedback. There seems to be consensus that aluminum pots heat more quickly than stainless steel and that my gas stove at the cottage may be “fuelling that fire” even more aggressively - no pun intended.

In order to eliminate a few of the variables from my dyeing experiments, and to get a better grade from those dye police (should they exist), I have decided to indulge in a stainless steel pot, if I can find an affordable one at a local restaurant supply place.

If I do, I will repeat these same formulae again, just to see for myself if, in fact, the variables can be controlled.

I’ll share the results when I have some.

3 comments:

Julie said...

Hi Wendy

Thanks for the great tip! I love your blog and follow it regularly too.

You are doing a great job on rug hooking and I learn alot from you. One more question: how do you get such detail in your rugs...like the totem pole: it almost looks like it was a picture?

Wendie Scott Davis said...

Hi Julie,

It was based on a picture from my 40th birthday. Isn't it a joyful shot?! I can't remember such a great picture of my family - and it was a great birthday.

I used the program that I told you about to blow it up to the size I wanted. Then I did an outline tracing and marked position of key features like eyes, etc. And they I used the colour picture (which I blew up to an 8 x 10) as my reference for highlights, shadows, etc.

And I guess all those years of painting must have paid off, since I find this is very much like painting with wool.

You can also use the computer to create "posterized" images from your picture - lots of photo software has that and you can play around with it, if you're interested. But that's a neat way to create hooking patterns too.

Val said...

Hi Wendie......Fun colors. As a VERY novice dyer I just rely on serendipity when it comes to the product that evolves out of my amateur dye pot. No expectations seem to always provide a wonder of color. My colors always seem to be in the orange family. Haha Thanks for sharing. Val