If you want to dye …

Dye session

Dye session

The battery on my camera needed charging, so the colors are much richer in real life.  You can see the plant tags on the skeins and some of the mixtures used.

I’m not sure that Linda K even does the sample books that I mentioned anymore, but I can tell you the colors that I use. These are all Sabraset and the colors from ProChem shown on my screen don’t match the real colors: Deep Red, Scarlet, Mustard Yellow, Sun Yellow, Violet, Navy, Black, Turquoise, Magenta, and Royal Blue—guess I was wrong—it’s ten colors.

For anyone interested in starting in on dyeing–I know I’ve seen mention of color samples by other folks besides Linda Knutson. One is called Color by Number Basic Book is by Sara Lamb and Deb Menz (http://www.debmenz.com/books.htm). They are quite expensive, so maybe just put on the cloak of a mad scientist and experiment. For instance, a normal dye run uses a 1% solution, which for 454 grams of yarn would be 4.54 grams of dye. To mix colors, you might use 85% (of 4.54 grams) Sun Yellow and 15% Deep Red to get an orange. You can keep doing that using varying formulas like 60% Sun Yellow, 40% Deep Red, until you get a complete range of yellows to reds. I use these gradations quite frequently.

Dye sheet

Dye sheet-I use a spreadsheet with formulas already plugged in—I just ad the weight of the yarn. All of the recommended additives are there, I just don’t use them now.

As for additives, from my point of view, the only one you absolutely need is citric acid. I have used all of them based on dyeing instructions, but gradually started doing without. That being said, I do weigh my skeins, dyes, citric acid with a triple beam scale. I use masking tape to label each skein with the weight and dye formula. You can also cut up Tyvek envelopes and use those for labels. A friend gave me some plant labels that loop back onto themselves, and those make great labels also (those are on the skeins above). I want to know how to achieve that color if at some point I’m designing and think that the perfect color is that one. I don’t want to have to guess at how that color came into being.

I also have pH indicators (http://www.daigger.com/catalog/product?deptId=&prodId=12520&q=ph+strips) that I bought from Daigger. I always check the acid level in my dyepots. I have hard water with iron content, so I like to use rainwater when possible. You can buy Metaphos from ProChem, which is a water softener w/o all the added stuff you would get in Calgon from the grocery store. I think ProChem has triple beam scales, but I bought mine from Earth Guild. The scales are quite an investment, so you might want to use inexpensive ones until you decide whether dyeing is for you. I buy yarn from Henry’s Attic in skeins, so that is one more prep chore that I don’t have to do. Since I weave with two strands of yarn, I always dye at least 2 skeins at a time, trying to find skeins near the same weight so as to come out evenly. Would that be considered compulsive? Or can I call it practical?

Good luck on dyeing. It’s a wonderful world out there, but expect some disasters too.

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