After ruining four batches of skeins, I have managed to create a dyeing setup that works. It’s a complex procedure, because each jar has to start out with a different amount of water, salt solution, and dye. And then the correctly labeled skein needs to be added to the jar. During the dyeing, each skein must be lifted out of the jar multiple times, which can result in cross-contamination between jars. The water bath level needs to remain stable and the temperature correct throughout dyeing. So I had a lot of failures before working out my method. But I did. For the curious, I wrote up my procedure in this Google Doc, which also links to the calculator spreadsheet that works out how much water, salt, etc. is needed for each jar.
Here is the first completed layer of the light-colored “cube” for Gold/Mixing Red/Navy:
I love this group of colors – they have a soft, subtle glow, as opposed to the brighter/more garish Gold/Mixing Red/Intense Blue skeins that I put up a blog post or two ago.
The funny thing is that I would never have imagined using these colors before I started dyeing my samples. My taste runs towards very bright, contrasting colors. Partly, though, that was because bright colors are more popular, so more readily available. Before starting my dye experiments, I didn’t have samples in paler shades and less saturated ones – so this project is really broadening my view of color. I’m looking forward to working with a wider palette!
Meanwhile, my friend Carla has finished winding the first layer of the Sun Yellow/Fuchsia/Turquoise skeins that I dyed a month or two ago. Here are two of the layers:
As you see, there is a lot of color variation within the samples. This is because I hadn’t yet worked out my method for the sequential-dyebath cubes and thus didn’t rotate the location of the skein ties as often as I should have. I’m hoping later samples are much more level.
I personally enjoy the photos of skeins more than the photos of the cards, because there is more richness and complexity in the photos of the skeins. However, the cards will provide a much more accurate measure of the colors, and are much more compact. So each has its place.
Yesterday I dyed two batches of skeins (52 skeins total) in a single session. I won’t do that again – while I did manage to get the procedure more or less correct, I didn’t get to circulate the skeins through the dye baths as much I would have liked, so I’m worried that the results might not be evenly dyed. I was also running around like crazy wishing I were an eight-armed octopus for the first hour or so. I may try doing two batches of skeins again, but it will be in overlapping dye sessions, not both at once. Oh well – it had to be tried!
I’ll leave you with this fabulous photo of a jellyfish swimming through a sea of plankton. I took this photo at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which has fantastic exhibits of sea life. Doesn’t it look like a Space Invaders alien come to conquer Earth?