Thursday, July 22, 2004

It's a good day to dye....

Every once in a while, I find the need to climb up on a soapbox and vent a little steam.  In addition to quilting, I also dabble in hand dyeing a little.  I love the process, and playing with the colors and the possibilities of mixing the various dyes.  One thing that has really annoyed me about dyers and dyeing has been the lack of publicly available information about how to achieve certain colors by mixing dyes.  The normal explanation given is that it won't do any good to give you the information since you won't be able to exactly reproduce the process I used and achieve the same result.  Therefore, I'm going to make you just figure it out yourself. 

Today I encountered a site where somebody actually posted a chart explaining how they mixed dyes to achieve certain colors.  This is not only gives recipes for colors, but also common names for the colors so if somebody tells me they'd like me to dye something maroon, I've got a pretty good place to start.  I shared this information on the Discussion Forum for a hand dyeing class I'm taking at quilt university.  Here's the response from the instructor:

"Pooey, Rick in Boston!!!! Spoiler!!!!!
Often, students ask me to help them find colors and I am happy to do so BUT....I give them hints so that they can find the colors for themselves. I act as the guide but the journey toward the actual recipe is invaluable!

Along the way, you find fabulous new colors and ideas hit you that you would have missed if following down the center of an already paved highway. You learn so much more about mixing and color theory and actually how dyes work when you work for it. For instance there are some recipes that look hideous and way wrong during the first 5 minutes but that's because the red or the yellow need a bit more time to kick in...usually at about the 10 minute mark they are better, and at 1 hour, great things are starting to take place. How to take advantage of that starts spinning in your head.....

Learning how to hand dye is all about process, process, process!! So much revolves around experience and experimentation. I cannot teach that. It comes from hours of testing and hard work. Making it your own is what will teach you the most about this art form. What's you hurry, Murry??

I say all that to say this-you can take short cuts but remember what happened to the Donner Party. (An illustration from California's pioneer history.) How's that for pouring cold water on a hot find, Rick? LOL! "

I frankly, find this to be very obnoxious.  Yes, it is a process.  Yes, there are no hard and fast formulas.  But that is no reason to deny basic information that allows one to get closer to a target faster. 

 "We are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more, and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise us up, and by their great stature add to ours."

            -- Sir Isaac Newton


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