Thursday, November 30, 2006

Note on Dye Stuff

When you are determining the amount of dye stuff to use in your dye pot, it is not the amount of water in the dye pot that determines the strength of the dye. The amount of water in the dye pot does *not* dilute the dye color. The amount of dye stuff is what determines whether the resulting color will be light or dark and the amount of dye material you put in the dye pot to be dyed. Generally you use the same weight of dye stuff that is equal to the material you are dyeing. So 4 oz of cane would require 4 oz of dye material. The dyed material, in our case, cane, will absorb the same amount of dye in 2 gals as in 4 gals of water, but you need to make sure you've added at least 4 oz of dye material. Then depending on how strong you want the color you can either add or subtract dye stuff from the initial amount used. If it is too strong, you might use it to dye another coil of cane in a lighter shade.

Natural dye colors often will not be consistent even when using the same dye stuff. Most natural materials require heat to extract the color. Powered dyed stuff can be mixed into a smooth paste with a little warm water then added to the dye pot and simmer for 1/2 hour. Generally you will need 1/2 the dyed material weight for the dye stuff. So with a 4 oz coil of cane you would need at least 2 oz of the dye powder. This will give you a strong dye pot, which you can then gauge from there whether you wish to add or subtract from that amount.

If you dye in a cool dye pot, then it can take several days to get the color you want. Some dye stuff also may require heat however for best results.

I would say, 2 cups of red onion is not 4 ozs in weight, so next time I'm going to double or triple the amount of red onions skins.

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