Notes From Color By Accident & elsewhere

My first post about dyeing fabric is here. I requested a couple books from the library via ILL that weekend, including Ann Johnson’s Color By Accident. Much of her text is about color mixing: it may be an interest i grow to have, but it’s not where i’ll start. I’ve selected preblended colors from Dharma. AJ’s text has some interesting instruction on the techniques of low water immersion dying, though, so i’ve taken notes on her technique (after the cut) and will annotate over time with other references.

Experiment: 4 day and 7 day room temp dye

General Preparation Process

UF = Unit is the weight of fabric; 1F = 1 lb of fabric

Prepare fiber

Scour in a hot wash of 15 min with Synthrapol (1/2 tsp to 1F) & soda ash (1/2 tsp to 1F)

Mix powders into concentrate; soda into solution

Powders are of some chemical concern as irritant. Mix up all needed in a batch session: They keep for roughly a week, refrigerate for longer.

1 cup of hot water + 2-4 tbsp urea 
cool to below 95°
add 2 tbsp dye (see below for specific adjustments)

Later, the concentrate is mixed with more water or with soda solution. Note that there are two times to relatively increase the amount of dye depending on the tinting properties: mixing the concentrate & mixing the solution. AJ notes doubling black at the concentrate stage.

1 gal hot water to 9 tbsp ash
cool to room temp (but later says use warm?)

Dye recipes

primaries: 8 tbsp/1c
light primaries: 1 tbsp/1c
some color mixes involved ratios like 
	5 tbsp/1c + 2tbsp/1c
	4 tbsp/.5-1c + 6 tbsp/.5-1c

Dye process summary from p 25

Wet fabric 1c water to 1 yard
	sometimes the water is left in the container
mix dye concentrate to 1c dye soln to 1 yard
pour over fabric
	value, color parfait added soda at this point
wait 15 min 
	manipulation may happen here if more dye involved
pour warm (?!) 1c soda soln to 1 yard  
	this may have second dye concentrate 
	make sure to distribute through fabric
allow hour to wait. more Movement, more distribution of color

Chemical additives

UF = Unit is the weight of fabric; 1F = 1 lb of fabric

PROCION® MX DYE: reactive dyes loose strength at room temp over 5-7 days. Keep cool. Lose strength above 95° F. Dye at 70°F-110°F. [See here]

UREA: “moisturizing.” Allows more dye in the concentrate. Use hot water to dissolve: will cool the water.

SALT: used to “force” the dye from the water bath into the fiber. AJ doesn’t think it’s necessary in low water method. (Standard method uses UF salt in dye bath of 20 F water.)

SODA ASH (sodium carbonate): Cellulose fiber fixative. In solution with water, indefinite shelf life. Dissolve in hot water, use at room temp. Can dye silk with same method, dramatic color variation.

DYE+SODA: at full strength for 15 min.

Specific color notes

10 FIRE RED* – requires 2X as much dye

30A NEW EMERALD GREEN*(T) – requires 2X as much dye; contains #25 Turquoise: Requires more rinsing to remove the excess dye ; Warmer tap water (up to 130F) when vat dyeing, can yield deeper shades; Using Glauber’s salt instead of plain salt when vat dyeing can also improve results.

34 RUST BROWN* – requires 2X as much dye

56 AZURE BLUE* – requires 2X as much dye; yields deeper shades when vat dyed at a higher temperature (hot tap water (130 to 150F).

64 ORCHID – no notes.


plastic 2 cup measures
plastic measuring spoons
heavy duty plastic spoons
something for soda solution
something for mixing/shaking dyes

googles, dust mask, rubber gloves

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