So I began this project over the weekend, with fiber reactive dyes. I've been wanting to do this since I started with fiber reactives, two years ago, but now I'm finally comfortable enough with tinkering with the dye concentrations, enough to launch into a new color swatch project.
One of the biggest -- maybe THE biggest -- difference between using acid dyes and using fiber reactive dyes is this: acid dyes are of equal strength, whereas fiber reactive dyes require fiddling with the relative concentrations of yellow-red-blue in order to mix correctly. That's why it's taken me so long to get to this point in my self education.
For instance, with acid dyes, to mix dyes of equal depth of shade (DOS), you use the same weight of dye powder to an equal amount of water. Such as 1 gram of dye to 100 ml water, which equals a DOS 1, regardless of what color you're mixing.
With fiber reactives, reds are 3x stronger than yellows, blues are 2x stronger than yellows. So to mix an equivalent DOS with fiber reactives would require, generally and theoretically, 3 tsp yellow to one cup water, 2 tsp blue to one cup water, and 1 tsp red to one cup of water.
So I started the weekend's color swatches with lemon yellow at 3 tsp per cup water, turquoise at 2 tsp per cup water, and fuchsia at 1 tsp per cup water. I made the orange page of swatches -- like what you see at the left above -- and discovered that there was still way too much fuchsia in the mix. I did the same thing with the greens and discovered that there was also way too much turquoise in the mix for my taste. So I kept halving the fuchsia and turquoise until I got a percentage that worked for me, that subsequently mixed colors that I would use. The photo above is what I arrived at after numerous experiments with color concentration.
My final formulas for this set of color swatches:
- 3 tsp lemon to 1 cup water
- 1/2 tsp turquoise to 1 cup water
- 1/4 tsp fuchsia to one cup water
- 1 tsp black (Procion 300) to one cup water
After I make the swatches, I toss the leftover dye into one of three quart jars -- orange, green, purple -- and use that for other dyeing projects.
My next set will be with lemon yellow again, fire red, and cerulean blue. Actually, I did an entire set with those colors today, using the same formulas as above. But the colors in this case were not intense enough so I'm going to do them again, and I'm going to double the blue and red this time.