Monday, January 09, 2006

Notes in Response

Wow! Shocked I am by your response, Fiber Jedi!

Would Yoda say, 'Wow' ? Fozzy Bear (also voiced by Frank Oz) says it rather emphatically. But not Yoda. Somehow it seems so unwise...worse than uncool.

Yes, I do have a teenager now. The voice is mostly changed and there's an armpit hair (note the singular). He'd simply faint with embarassment if he read this. Mother's revenge! And I also am now officially married to a 40 yr old. It's been a busy fall. I'd now like to skip menopause and get right to 'wacky granny', please.

For the non technicians: please don't give up dying because you saw this project. This project is the antithesis of Melody Johnson's blog post, Lazy Dyer So popular (and helpful) is this vintage post that she has it linked in her side bar. Keep in mind that over the past 7 or 8 years I've made lots of great solid and multi colored fabric by the seat of my pants. I've even taken on a few custom dye jobs that required color matching. The eye is still a powerful artist's tool. And dying with no plan is great fun!

Batik artist Arnelle Dow is probably most responsible for my drive to make a bazillion teensy dye samples. Here's another picture, and one more. Yes, that really is batik. I want that deep understanding of color layering! And I want it yesterday! It will further my Evil Plan to Rule Planet Earth Through Fiber. Yes it will, boys and girls.

Now for the techie part. For starters, check out Dyers List. Members of this list include novices, pros, and a few chemists. Carol Soderlund is on there, too. Another good source of informations is Paula Burch's webite. Until Carol publishes a book, there's very little written on this particular experiment. I could say 'nothing written' but it could be out there and I could be wallowing in ignorance. There's plenty written about the dye process. Paula's webite has some book reviews.

Here's what I know:
-I work by weight. Meaning: the amount (in grams) of dye I use is proportional to the weight of my fabric. This has saved me much dye powder, therefore much $$$. Happy, happy!
-My lightest color was .25% Weight of Goods (goods=fabric), my darkest 6% WOG. According to the lab folk at ProChem, for unmixed dye colors, anything higher than 6% doesn't show much color change (dark-darks like black are the exception).
-A yard of Robert Kaufman Kona Cloth weighs about 165.6 grams. A two inch square weighs about .4 g
-I used 36 ml water for each 2" square. How I arrived at that volume is a mystery steeped in the secrets of blury-eyed, late-night reading. If a 2" square weighs .4 g, then 6% of that is .024 g. Therefore I'd need to mix .024 g dye into every 36 ml water. With the goal of making a concentrate, I needed to mix the same amount of dye into 12 ml water. Using larger numbers makes measuring easier, so I called upon the math faeries and ended up mixing 3 g dye into 1.5 liters of water. In each cup requiring 6% WOG, I'd add 12ml dye stock and enough water to equal 36ml. If the cup called for .25% dyestock, I'd add .5ml dye stock and enough water to equal 36 ml.

This is where my eyes glaze over, roll back into my head and the convulsions begin. And this is also where I'm hesitant to give out much direction. Everyone's equipment is different. Everyone reasons differently. Shoot--my balance scale and my electronic scale don't even agree. And I tend to make quantum leaps in my brain, leaving me unable to explain how I drew a conclusion. What's written above probably has Texas-sized holes in the logic. Then we could address the issue of what is Carol Soderlund's intellectual property and how much I may be stepping on her copyright toes.

So, I recommend you buy a good scale, find a calculator you like, and read-read-read. This is challenging, but it isn't Boolean Algebra. You can do this.

Or, you can win the lottery and take the class ;)


Debra said...

Wow! My eyes glazed over about the first percentage symbol!

I haven't been terribly happy with my dyeing experiments, but guess that means I need to buy folks fabric.

Anonymous said...

thanks for taking the time to post all the great dyeing info...i have the books you mentioned, am a member of the dyerslist, read melody's site and anything else i can find...
can't imagine any copyright problems since you didn't take carol's class...any one of us can come up with a book of samples, she doesn't own that!!
i would take her class but health problems prevent travel...however, i can experiment to my hearts content at home...
thanks again,