One of the first things I receive comments on in my Prairie Sky series is the vibrancy of the sky, and the many variations of blue in them. I often create that variety of colour by dyeing different types of fibre (wool, silk, nylon) and different forms of the same fibre (ie. wool mohair, wool fabric, unspun wool fleece, etc.) in the same pot.

I have a tendency to mix up a pot of colour and just toss in a mix of fibres. Over the years I’ve learned to roughly measure the fibre, or weigh it, before throwing it in the dye pot. That makes it easier to come close to the colour should I need more later on.

By now you’ll have determined I’m rarely ever looking for an exact match. If I am, it’s other people’s dye systems and manuals to the rescue! Or…I use my own dye records.

So here’s a page from my dye records. Dye records are a really good idea. They keep you from reinventing the wheel. If you’ve dyed a colour before and want more, it’s easy to see what to do. This page is on using ProChem Brilliant Blue, Golden Yellow, and National Blue.

ProChem Blues #1

In case you can’t read my printing, I put 1/3 yard of Dorr wool natural, 1/3 yard of 45” wide silk habotai, 5 legs of nylons and 5 yards of natural bouclé yarn in the pot for each colour, except the last Brilliant Blue, where I missed putting bouclé yarn in the pot…probably because I ran out of it.

I hope this helps those of you with basic dyeing experience understand how I achieve my colours. Because everything went into the same pot, the result is fibre that all goes together, even if one is nylon, one is wool, one is silk, and one is yarn.

Here’s another deep blue formula. I had such a strong dye solution in my dyebath, that I added more fibre later to soak up all the colour. There were seven 5 yard skeins of different yarns, nylons and silk. No wool fabric this time.

For Majic Carpet dyes, I have used straight blue out of the jar. I have also combined it with yellow for a warmer blue, or reddish brown or black for stormy skies and seas.

A lovely peacock blue can be reached by combining 3/32 tsp. Blue, 3/64 tsp. Bottle Green and 1/64 tsp. Black. I put this in a dye pot with 1/6 yard Dorr wool natural, some wool fleece, and 10 yards each of four different types of yarn.

This certainly doesn’t exhaust the topic of blues or dyeing them! But hopefully it will give you a bit of a taste of what is possible, and encourage you to experiment with your blue dyes.

 

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