Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Playing with fabric values

Some days I feel like a mad chemist in my fabric studio. It's fun to run experiments where I change one variable while keeping all other conditions constant. One thing I like to play with is creating a palette in different values to see which value is most appealing and that I want to keep in stock. You may find you really like one combination in a light value, but not in a darker value or vice versa.  Remember, all you are changing is the proportion of dye to the weight of fabric. If you want to be able to repeat your experiment and get the same results, measure everything using metric measures. Weigh your dye powder, weigh your fabric, and weigh your water.

 First, let me show you one of the hues of the Tundra palette, Bluegrass. Here you can see it in a 1% depth of shade on both cotton/hemp and conventional cotton. Not much difference between the two. The patterning on the conventional cotton appears crisper. That's because the threadcount is much higher on the cotton, so the patterning appears more distinct.
On the right, here's Bluegrass again, also on cotton hemp, in a 1% value and a 4% value.

Your first reaction might be that these are two entirely different hues. They aren't.  The formula for both fabrics is identical.  But the fabric on the right appears much more green, because with the increase in value, it appears more dominant.

Both are lovely fabrics, just different. So next time you dye a batch and aren't happy with it, try it in a different value. You might get a  happy surprise! 

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