Saturday, January 02, 2010

matching colours

Sarah helped me with the Christmas Choice Craft Sale because my co-organizer was home with a preemie baby and was not available. However, I am very glad to report that Connor is doing fine these days.
When I found out that my co-organizer (coincidentally also named Sarah) would not be able to be there, I called other friend Sarah. Why do I feel like I'm in the remake of the Bob Newhart show?
In any case, Sarah was more than happy to keep me company, and refill the cookies and keep an eye on the mulled cider and do a thousand other things that needed doing while I was in at the sale and trying to flog my wares.
As payment I offered Sarah anything she wanted, such was my gratitude. Money, fast cars, drugs (well. Maybe Tylenol and Sucrets would be as far as that offer would go)
In any case, she just asked that I dye a skein of yarn to match a skein of silk that she bought off of me last year. No worries! I said....until I realized that the skein that I had dyed before was silk and was dyed with acid dyes and the skein that she wanted dyed to match was a silk bamboo blend and needed to be dyed with fibre reactive dyes because acid dyes will not dye bamboo.
Lesson time.... in my world, there are two basic types of dye. Acid dyes dye protein fiber, which is basically anything that comes off of an animal. Or out of in the case of silk.
Fiber reactive dyes are dyes that will work on cellulose fibers or anything that is plant based. Or, again, silk.
SO my task was to match a colour created with acid dyes with fiber reactive dyes. This is like comparing apples to oranges. There are two different types of dyes with two different types of base colours. Next to impossible. For most people. Thankfully, I had a secret weapon on my side. Her Harriet. She has been the studio head of the Surface Design department for many years and this woman knows colour. As in KNOWS COLOUR. She was in one day before Christmas and I begged he for a moment of her time. I think she was ironing some burnout velvet at the time and so had a moment to spare.
The conversation went something like this.
Me: Hi Harriet, can I use your brain for a moment?
Harriet: Sure.
Me: I need to match this colour (points to one colour in the multi coloured skein) It was dyed with acid dyes, but the skein that I have to dye has bamboo in it so needs to be dyed with FR dyes.
Harriet:Hmmm. Try 70% Navy, 20% Teal, and 10% Black.
Me: Thank you thank you thank you (accompanied with much bowing and scraping)

And here are the results. Top skein is the silk dyed with acid dyes and the colour that I was trying to match is blue in the center. Bottom skein is the silk bamboo skein that I dyed and rinsed until the cows came home.

I know that monitors present colours differently and all, but I am pretty impressed with Harriet's assessment of the colour and her knowledge of the fibre reactive dyes that we use at the school. I hope that one day, I will have half as much knowledge of colour and how to reproduce it.


Anonymous said...

oh my goodness!! And other words that need exclamations!!

It's gorgeous. Thank you and Harriet so much!

~Sarah, the helper not the mommy to Connor. :D

Julia said...

Wow. Beautiful job. Harriet must be a rainbow to know her color so well. She would be a worthy friend to have around you.

Sue said...

That is impressive. And lovely!

Poseidon said...
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Liz said...

Harriet is indeed the colour goddess, the yarn is tres yummy