Dyeing Experiment

It’s been a while since I tried something new.  There were 8 skeins of Jojoland Consonance (undyed) lying around here for the last few years, unwanted by any customers or Ravelers, so I decided to try making a gradient, sometimes called a color bridge – a range of skeins that begins with a deep color and fades before fading into a different color.

I started with two identical pots filled with the same amount of water and citric acid.  Into these pots I put a lot of dye:  more than would usually be used for one skein.  In the first pot:  1 teaspoon Brilliant Blue and 1/4 teaspoon Hot Fuchsia; in the second pot, the reverse.  My goal was to have a set of eight skeins that started with the deep bluish-purple (we’ll call it the Blue) and faded down to a hint of bluish-purple before passing to a hint of pinkish-purple all the way up to a vivid, intense pinkish-purple (we’ll call this the Pink).

Step 1:  soak 1 skein in each pot for 60 minutes, then microwave the two pots (at the same time) for 12 minutes on full power.

Step 2:  remove both skeins at the same time and let them cool.

Step 3:  when the pot liquid had cooled to room temperature, add 8 ounces of water and 1 skein to each pot.

Repeat from step 1.

So, theoretically, with each skein, more dye would be taken up, and eventually I would have two pots with a slight haze of color in them for the ‘center’ of the color bridge.  Theoretically.  Of course it did not turn out so neatly.

I did make two mistakes that could have been controlled.  One is that I failed to pre-wash the skeins.  As a result of skin oils, or machine oils from spinning, or something, a few of these skeins have pale patches in them.  The only one that came out a true solid is the deepest of the Blue.

The other mistake is that the colors I chose do not exhaust at the same rate.  This is something I already knew from years of working with these colors, but didn’t consider it because this color path was so glorious.  The Brilliant Blue dye always takes up faster than the Hot Fuchsia.  This means that my first two Blue skeins are bluish-purple, but the third and fourth are sort of pale orchid, because there wasn’t any blue left in the pot.  It also means that my first skein of Pink actually turned out more of a plum than I wanted.  That skein took up all the Brilliant Blue from the Pink pot and left nothing but pure Hot Fuchsia for the remaining three skeins.

The theory was sound, but the color choices are what really screwed it up.  I am going to order some cheaper yarn in smaller skeins and try again with a different “color bridge,” maybe, uh, caramel to mint, or something totally random like that.

When these skeins are all dry, I’ll post a picture of them here, but right now, all of them are still wet.

3 thoughts on “Dyeing Experiment

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