Friday, 8 March 2013

Dye the Colour Wheel

Last Saturday 6 students and I set out to dye 92 different 10g samples of yarn using just 6 primary dye colours.  We were looking at all the different possible combinations of magenta, red, tartrazine, yellow, royal blue and cyan done as secondary and tertiary colours.  I had already done 28 samples testing out procedures.  I also wound nearly all the 10g skeins we needed.  But don't worry, I had help!

Hobbes, being a Helpy Helper!

I had set out spreadsheets with the calculations all taken care of.  Everyone took a sheet and after a quick demonstration started measuring and stirring.

 As the samples were mixed they set them on the counter to be run in the dye microwave.  The Guild has a big, powerful old microwave that I found being offered to a good home at work one day.  It does a 10g sample in 2 minutes.  We actually ran them in batches of up to 6 at a time once we had them stacked up.

They almost all exhausted nicely, except for some of the ones that had cyan which rarely behaves well.  We shot those with extra acid and heat and they did all finally exhaust.  We let them sit for a bit on top of the microwave to stay warm and finish exhausting then transferred them to the open window to cool.

We spun the rinsed skeins out really well in a salad spinner, but getting them dry was a challenge until a student realized we have fans in the Resource Centre.  We had already started hanging them on the coat rack, but when we added the fan they dried really quickly.

Here is what we should have ended up with:

6 different values for each of the primaries ranging from 0.01% DOS to 2% DOS = 36 samples

75/25, 50/50 and 25/75 samples of all the possible combinations of 2 primaries (e.g. cyan and tartrazine, cyan and yellow, royal and tartrazine and royal and yellow) to show the range of oranges, purples and greens = 36 samples

6 possible tertiary colours from each of the combinations of 3 primaries in about a 60/30/10 ratio = 48 samples.

It looked like this when we were all done:  The sets of secondaries are on the left, the tertiaries in the middle and the primaries on the right.  It's amazing how different they all are.  Even in this little picture you can see the variation in the oranges especially.

We did it.  We think.  There may be a few missing.  I have mine roughly sorted but I haven't checked for missing ones.  All told it took 7 of us about 9 hours to run the samples, tag and divide them.  Now I just have to mount the samples for myself and for the guild to have a copy.  They will be an excellent reference and starting point for anyone looking to mix colours.