Today I’m giving thanks for my methodical, always-sample-first approach!
I was considering the “Just Do It” approach and just diving into dyeing my warp. But a little voice said, “Mixed fibers – you don’t know what will happen!” So I wound and dyed a small test swatch first. And boy howdy, am I glad I did!
Here’s the effect I was after – the fuchsia and green swatch on the right:
Here are the colors I used:
And here is what I wound up with, after dyeing:
I’ve got lovely shades of fuchsia, purple, and pinky-orange, but where did the green go??
Here’s what I’m pretty sure happened.
The fuchsia struck equally well on both cotton and silk. No problem there.
The yellow struck preferentially on one fiber (I suspect the silk). It got zooped up immediately, leaving none for the other fiber.
The blue either attached preferentially to the other fiber (I think the cotton), OR the fuchsia and yellow hit first, and saturated out the dye sites on the silk (silk has fewer bonding sites than cotton), leaving nowhere for the blue to attach. So only one fiber got the blue dye.
The end result: the blue only dyed one fiber and the yellow only dyed one fiber. The fuchsia dyed both fibers. So I wound up with fuchsia in the areas I dabbed with fuchsia, a mix of salmon (fuchsia+yellow) and purple (fuchsia+blue) in the areas where fuchsia mixed with green, and blue and yellow and a teeny-tiny bit of green in the areas that were pure green.
Since I deliberately made most of the areas a mix of fuchsia and green (I didn’t want a whole lot of green), that meant that I wound up with a LOT of fuchsia-and-purple and almost no green.
So that idea is DOA. Good thing I sampled first!
At this point I have a few options:
I can try to get green from a different mix of dyes. There are four “pure” blues in the MX dyes and two yellows. A different combo may produce a green less inclined to “break” into component dyes. I’m a bit skeptical of this since I’ve heard all the blues are slower-striking than all the yellows, but it might be worth a try.
I can change the colors I’m trying to achieve. This seems like a sounder approach. If I use a single “pure” dye, or two more closely related colors than magenta and green (which are color-wheel opposites), I’ll probably get less chaos. If I want to see my pattern clearly, it would be good to use two colors of similar values (darkness). I’ll have to think about what colors, though, and of course do considerable sampling. I may be back to my favorite color combination, blue and orange-red, again. Not the worst of color combinations (I mean, it’s my favorite for a reason), but I’d kind of like to experiment with something different, too.
Whatever I do, though, I’ll definitely have to sample. Doing a mixed fiber warp is complicating things more than I’d expected. But that just makes it more fun!