Thursday, January 7, 2010


So really, I've been dyeing for awhile now. Back since the end of November. But December was a crazy month and there was no time to blog.

No time.

So anyway. Dyeing!

Okay, first of all, dyeing with fiber reactive procion dyes is a big pain in the butt. Not hard, per se, but a big pain in the butt. It has a lot of steps and involves a lot of measuring and is very meticulous. I don't like being meticulous. (In case you haven't noticed.) I also don't particularly like measuring.

So I ordered all the stuff from Dharma Trading Company (the name amuses Justin, big Lost fan that he is to no end) and commenced my first round of dyeing.

To begin with, if anyone is interested in reading the whole process, I'm using this set of instructions from Dharma's website. I did some other reading as well, but this is what I have printed out and take into the bathroom with me to dye.

As the fabric rested in the dye and later in the dye mixed with soda ash, I kept the bathroom door tightly closed to prevent any curious kitties from wandering in and trying the highly toxic dye. Justin came home from work and inquired if the bathroom was available for, you know, use. I said, yes, it certainly was. He added that he didn't want to be poisoned by toxic dye. I said that as he was unlikely to be curious enough to try drinking the pretty green water, he would probably be safe. His response is best left unprinted.

So the first round of dyeing, using Dharma's Emerald Green yielded a beautiful dark forest green swatch. I left one piece in for 15 minutes and one for 20, but there's very little difference in color. Those are the swatches on the far left and far right. Well, I liked this color, but it seemed a little dark. I showed it to Justin. He liked it, but after I asked him if he thought it was dark, he admitted that it was. We both felt it would be good for a wedding in say, March, but not so much for May. Jenny saw the swatches and loved them. My mom saw them later that month and didn't like them too much - she thought it would make the dress go from being ivory with green to just being green.

Clearly more samples were needed.

None of the other greens on Dharma looked anywhere near like something I'd like. So I went to PRO Chemical & Dye, the other big source for these type of dyes. Ordered two more dye colors - spring green and their version of emerald green. Well, spring green was a colossal failure. Those are the two little swatches in the upper middle, the ones that look almost turquoise. And therein lies the problem. They're turquoise. No good.

So finally, just this Monday, I dyed a swatch in PRO's Emerald Green. I really though we had a winner. I still think we might. I used half as much dye as I have for the others since my last Emerald swatch (the Dharma one) was so dark. And that may have been my mistake. The color looked great when I first pulled it out of the dye bath and then I even worried about it getting too dark. But unfortunately when I rinsed it, especially when I rinsed it with Synthrapol (which takes out the excess dye), a lot of the blue tones washed out and left it a little too yellow. Still, I have high hopes. It's the swatch in the middle, kind of around and under the other 4.

Here they are again, without the flash. The true colors are kind of in between the two pictures.

Not sure when I'll try another dye test - this time with the full amount of dye for the PRO emerald green. I also want to start working on redoing the dress mock up, and work on a new knit design for the sleeves. It's dawned on me that I might have to shake a leg a little so as not to be rushing through the home stretch.

I'm sure that surprises no one.

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