So, I finally gave in to temptation and ordered a bunch of cotton yarn. In white, of course.
Which means it’s finally time to start creating a set of dye triangles for cotton, using Procion MX dyes. Grump.
What is a dye triangle? It’s a tool for determining what can be done with a given set of dyes…in essence, you mix up all possible combinations of those three colors and dye a small swatch with each combination. At the end of it you have a heap of small skeins of yarn (or fabric swatches if you dye on fabric) which you then carefully organize into a notebook, along with notes on exactly what proportions of dyes were used for that particular shade. Do a couple of those and you’ll soon discover that you can mix virtually any color.
Of course, then you discover that the shades can shift for pastel colors, that what applies to cotton doesn’t necessarily apply to tencel, that there are many different “mixing colors” you can try, and so on…the net of which is that, if you were really fussy, you could spend your entire life mixing up dye samples.
Fortunately, I’m not that fussy, and I’ll settle for one or two dye triangles for the Procion colors (for now). I plan to do a 10x10x10 dye triangle, which requires 66 small skeins of yarn. The way it works (and the reason it’s called a dye triangle) is because the proportions form a triangle:
8-0-2 8-1-1 8-2-0
7-0-3 7-1-2 7-2-1 7-3-0
and so on, where “7-2-1” means “7 parts Color One” – “2 parts Color Two” – “1 part Color Three”.
Doing dye triangles can best be described as “tedious” (mostly because skeining up 66 small skeins of yarn is a royal pain in the butt) but it’s necessary if you want to be able to mix your own shades predictably.
So anyway, that’s the next dyeing project. I expect it will take about one full day to do, assuming I get that much free time, which I won’t because it’s just about time to start cycling training again. I’ll probably piece it out over the next few weeks – the “production run” of scarves takes priority since they have to be done by Dec 23.
I’ll post a photo of it (and other dye triangles I’ve done) once I’ve finished – that should give you a better idea of the concept. It’s a pity this can’t really be mechanized easily – a good dye notebook is worth its weight in, well, silver anyway.