An interesting project with hand-dyed yarns

Hi all,

I just finished a shawl that I thought might be of interest.  It's entirely hand-dyed, the warp in orange silk and the weft in 24 shades that fade gradually from fuchsia to electric blue, giving the appearance of continuous color change throughout the shawl.  I posted it on Weavolution, at .

I've done some other work with the same concept (colors dyed so close together it looks like a gradual fade).  I'm still working on getting all my work into Weavolution, but meanwhile you can see them here:

It's a neat concept, and one that I think is worth trying, if you have the time to sample and hand-dye all the colors.  It doesn't take nearly as long as it sounds, since I dye in quart mason jars and you can fit 6-8 of them into a canner, so I can  dye 8 colors at once.  With 24 colors that's only three batches!

Here's one photo as a teaser:


Posted on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 01:31

 It looks GREAT. When you say in moves from color A to color B in graduated steps are you dyeing in gradual percentages of the two dyes? I gues if the first run is 100% Blue and the next might be 90% blue and 10% fuchsia and then 80% and 20%.? Did you start the dyes at full saturation level? Was the piece woven in a ballance structure? It is interesting that the color play that the orange hue creates against the varying hue weft. Probably too many questions but I was just curious...

Posted on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 14:07

Right! but actually the steps are more hyperbolic than linear: for example, the first five fuchsia -to-turquoise steps are 99.75% fuchsia, 99.5% fuchsia, 99% fuchsia, 97.5% fuchsia, and then it drops down to 95% fuchsia and I start stepping down in units of 5% for a few more bands, then (in the purples) 10% per step.  Same thing happens on the turquoise end, although the turquoise end has an additional transition, from electric blue to turquoise.  (The initial mix is electric blue and fuchsia.)

I dyed at 2% weight of goods (2g dye for every 100g fiber) using fiber-reactive dyes (Cibacron/Sabracron F).  Before I started I did a full set of samples - see for my methods - so I could be sure I got the right range of colors.  That was when I discovered that the transition from fuchsia to purple happens very quickly, and I'd need to start off very slowly when adding the blue.

In total it took 29 skeins to effect a gradual transition from fuchsia to turquoise, but it was well worth the trouble.  (Don't look so horrified - I dyed it in mason jars in a canner so I could do 7=8 skeins at a time.  The worst part was winding off all the yarn into balls afterwards - I was using 30/2 silk and it took FOREVER!!!)   To go from red to yellow, 20 skeins.

To get a better look at the transition of colors, see the black cashmere color transition shawl:

And to see the red to yellow shades crossing the blue-to-fuchsia, see this one:

The structure for the shawl pictured in my original post is mostly plainweave (thus the lovely iridescence), so it's a balanced weave - but the other two shawls are a network drafted pattern on a rosepath threading, I think very slightly unbalanced, but not sure.

I am now planning some work in 60/2 silk...I'm going to wind a bunch of 50-gram skeins and make up a gradual transition  around the entire color wheel - from fuchsia to yellow to turquoise and back to fuchsia, going through all the greens, oranges, and purples on the way - that will give me enough yarn to do a LOT of shawls in color-changes!  I'm guessing it will take me about 100 skeins, but since I recently bought 6 kg of 60/2 silk (planning to use it for my wedding dress, but I'm trying to use 120/2 silk instead), I should have enough.

I really LOVE the effects you can get with a gradual change in colors!

Posted on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 14:28

 Lovely Tien!  We need a gallery with all of these is one place: photos are good, but the cloth in real life.....  The iridescence is just breathtaking.