Monday, July 21, 2008

Computer Hex Code Dyeing 4: 2nd Samples - Getting Closer?

Well, Peg was absolutely correct when she said that I was learning a lot. Indeed!

After learning how slow Pro MX turquoise is, I decided that I needed another mini-skein using my original recipe. This time I left it in the dyepot for 2 days, allowing the turquoise to do it's thing. Below is a comparison of those two skeins. They follow exactly the same recipe, with the same proportions of Turquoise MX-G, Red MX-5B (fuchsia), and Black MX-CWA. The only difference is the amount of time the skeins were allowed to soak in the dyebath.

Still too purple. But I had also learned that the Procion fuchsia dyes are strong, so that a little goes a long way. So for my next series of experiments, I began to adjust the amount of fuchsia.

Since I needed 50 milliliters of dye solutions for each skein, I knew that I couldn't simply use less fuchsia. I would have to make up the difference by increasing something else, either the turquoise or the black. Increasing the black didn't seem to be the answer, so I made up the difference with the turquoise.

Here are the results from that (target color is on the left):

Click on above image to enlarge

For each sample, I decreased the fuchsia by half. So the top is 100% of the fuchsia called for, the second is a half, third is a quarter, and bottom is one eighth the amount of fuchsia. Each sample soaked for about 48 hours.

Obviously, none of them are anywhere near the color I was aiming for. Next steps might include finer adjustments of the turquoise and fuchsia. Or experimenting with depth of shade. In fact, Diane has been doing a similar series of hex code dyeing experiments with depth of shade on silk and muslin fabric. Her first set of swatches starts here. They are very interesting so I encourage you to go take a look.

One thing I noticed from my 2nd set of samples, is that the third one looks similar to another color in my original palette, #1470C4 ....

However, part of the problem with these experiments is that there is no way to accurately analyze the results. Why? Because there is no way to establish the "exact" overall hue of the yarn. In order to use my computer to determine the hex code for the yarn, I can use a color picker. However, a color picker will only grab the color from one of millions of pixels which make up a picture. Take a look at a tiny detail from the same yarn photo, enlarged enough to show the pixels.

You can see why it's easy to create an almost infinite palette from just one photo! You can also see why there is no accurate way to choose the exact color which matches the overall appearance of the yarn. This points to another problem, i.e. having to go through multiple layers of color interpretation -- eye > camera > photograph > photo software > computer monitor > eye. In the end, they can only be analyzed visually.

So, to do that, here is the original photo with my 2nd sample skeins.

Technically exact? No. Visually accurate? Close! And you know what? I feel that now at least, I'm somewhere in the ball park instead of wandering around the parking lot.

Conclusions? None yet, but I am still intrigued enough to continue experimenting along this line.

Next ..... Computer Hex Code Dyeing 5: 1st Success?

Related posts:
Dye Recipes From Computer Color Codes: A Theory
Computer Hex Code Dyeing 1: Palettes From Pictures
Computer Hex Code Dyeing 2: Wrestling With Recipes
Computer Hex Code Dyeing 3: 1st Samples - No Joy
Computer Hex Code Dyeing 5: 1st Success?


Peg in South Carolina said...

Looking first at the background the bird, what really does give it its liveliness is that varied number of blues in it. I think this is a very important concept to think about. This is one of the areas that dyeing your own yarn for weaving where the weaver can raise the level of quality in his final product. It can be as simple as using two very closely related shades of the same color alternately in the warp.

Helen said...

I agree with Peg it is the complexity of colour that fascinates me in nature. I am happy to get my complexity with using natural dyes which are in themselves complex and trusting to my visual sense. I can't make up my mind whether the route you re going down is going to drive you screaming mad with frsutration , produce flat colour or bring you through to something fascinating. Whichever i is very interesting -even if I could not go through this process without going stark staring mad! Well time will tell!

Leigh said...

Peg, oh yes, that's exactly what fascinates me about color and weaving. Also, that reminds me that I forgot to mention another facet of the sense of color duplicaton - luster. My cotton yarns do not have luster, but the photo is printed on high gloss paper. That makes a difference too.

Helen, I at least, am totally fascinated! But I think it all depends upon one's level of expectation. When I did all of my first experiments with mixing the procion mx dyes, I was surprised at how some of the colors reacted together. I realized that I didn't fully understand how they worked together with this medium. Using the html colors just seemed right up my alley as a starting place. I knew from the dye mixer applet, that some of the hex codes translated well, some not so well. I chose some that didn't. I reckon I would have looked more "successful" if I had picked a hex code that matched they dye applet results, but what I'm doing now really suits my analytical learning style better. I'm a "what if" explorer. Most of my weaving has been done this way (what if I did this, or what if I tried that.) In the end, I know that I will become familiar with how these dye color mix to create new color. And since I love color, no sample is wasted. I'm already trying to figure out how to work all my first samples into a woven piece. :)

Sharon said...

I love the colors in the picture you chose, all the varieties of blue, but especially the brown, red and black. I have such a different approach to dyeing, perhaps because Mim and I do it together a lot. We use syringes that measure cc's and use stock solutions of Procion dyes in primary painters colors, both warm and cool and also black.

I hear your frustration but I also am with you in the fascination of color in fiber. It's so different than mixing oils on a board - not so easy and certainly not so predictable. I love it until - I have a skunky result and then I'm humbled. I will never approach it with the science that you have but I certainly approach it with your enthusiasm!

Linda W said...

I've been dyeing yarns with fiber reactive and acid dyes for more than 30 years. I have a different approach, born of those days back in the 70s when life was not quite so techy. I mix dyes the way painters mix paint - I eyeball it. Learn to look at the color, whether it's in your mind's eye or out in the world, and "see" that color. The experiments you are doing are really a great way to learn to see color.

First thing I noticed about the target color and the "less fuschia" samples is that the target color is a cold blue. Turquoise is a warm blue. It has a lot of yellow in it. Try changing the blue dye you're using to a cool one.

Also, remember that the ways dyes and computers mix colors is different. Additive and subtractive methods, although now I can't remember which is which. Makes a huge difference.

Unknown said...

You might want to experiment with your DOS for certain colors. When I was in college we would always mix double the amount of yellow because it tended to be a weaker color.

Also Procion dyes tend to be much brighter than other dyes such as sabracron and sabraset. That's why they use procion for tie dye t-shirts.

Leigh said...

Sharon, once I get done playing with the printers primaries I definitely plan to experiment with the painters primaries. I may be knocking on your door for advice. *grin*

Linda, thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. Like you, I first learned to mix color by eye, except mine experience was with paints. One of the first things I noticed from my 1st Procion dye experiments, was that dyes didn't behave the same as paints. That really intrigued me. I know that one of the end results of all this experimenting will be a more intuitive sense of how to mix these, though I am really hoping to eventually understand a mathematical relationship between the hex codes and my dye recipes (for more info on computer color, see my post Dye Recipes From Computer Color Codes - A Theory.) This may not be possible, but even so, I am gaining a much needed knowledge base in the process. My experiments may seem to be a frustratingly slow road to specific results, but this suits my learning style! :)

Lavendersheep, DOS is absolutely next on my list!

Dorothy said...

Looking at the 4 sample colours, the 2nd and 3rd are closer to what you're aiming for, and it occurred to me that if you had a vote on which was closest you'd find some of us voting for one and some voting for the other, depending on our personal perception of the original ;)

You've got me reading everything about dyes I can lay my hands on, and I was interested in a triangular colour mix chart in Anne Milner's The Ashford Book of Dyeing. She takes three primaries (one at each corner of the chart) and moves from one to the next in steps, proportions at the corner being for example 10:0:0 moving to 9:0:1, 8:0:2 along the bottom row, the next row up starts 9:1:0, 8:1:1, 7:1:2, I can't really explain more without copying the whole thing out but it makes a very useful reference chart (and very pretty).

Linda W said...

Leigh - I really agree with you on the need to experiment in order to get that intuitive sense. Also, about the differences between paints and dyes. I learned dyes first, then went to paint. Biggest surprise? When dyes dry, they dry lighter. Paints dry darker. All of those years of "seeing" color had to be reversed. Good luck with your experiments. I'm enjoying following your adventures. Now, I'm going off to spend the afternoon dyeing some cotton for a warp.

Peg in South Carolina said...

I have done the color triangle that Dorothy references and found it valuable. I did it many years ago (using an older dye book) when I was using only MX dyes. What would be really valuable is to do two or three of them, each with different primaries. What is especially valuable is that you get complex shades. And it's fun to do!

Leigh said...

Dorothy, what is really neat, is that three of the four colors from the 2nd set of samples can be found in the photo. I'm guessing that this is coincidental at this point, but it is still exciting. I've not seen the Ashford Dyeing book, so I'm hoping I'm correctly envisioning the triangle you and Peg are speaking of. It sounds a little like what I was doing with my cotton lint dyeing experiments, only I didn't take those beyond a couple of shades.

Linda, your comment is encouraging. Although I don't have an accurate sense of dye color mixing yet, I am excited to think that it will come with time.

Unknown said...

The triangle that Dorothy is talking about is the triaxial that I mentioned awhile back. What is cool is that you can do yellow, red, blue, or yellow, magenta, turquoise, or substitute black for the blue. There are a ton of options. I did sets of 6, so it was (6,0,0), (5,0,1), (4,0,2), etc....

It was fun and also made it much easier to figure out what to mix when I want a particular color.

Leigh said...

So the three numbers represent the proportions of the three colors being used in the triangle, correct? (I think I need to get this book). That sounds like an extremely useful exercise for understanding color mixing.

The other exercise, is doing a series of each color in decreasing proportions. I've dabbled in that one too, but not in a deliberate fashion. Only when it suits the experiment of the moment.

Linda W said...

Another really good, although very basic, exercise is to use the same amount of dye on the same amount of the same type of fiber following the same recipe. The key is to keep it all identical except for the dye color used. What you get is an idea of the basic colors you are dealing with - sort of like squeezing the paints out on your palette. Easy to see which red is cool, which is warm, etc. Now, the amazing and fun and sometimes frustrating thing with FR dyes is that if you do this using different yarns, even though they are all, say, cotton, the results can be different. Not to mention the immersion times, as Leigh discovered in her experiments. Or an increase in salt, often necessary for darker colors. And, then, of course, if you use a different cellulose fiber . . . oh, my. The possibilities, for better or worse, are endless. : ) Hmmmm, thinking that I haven't done this in awhile.

Leigh said...

Linda, you're a woman after my own heart! *lol. I can see that I will never have an excuse to be bored with fiber reactive dyeing. :)

Unknown said...

I made up a little triaxial diagram so it makes a bit more sense. Each number in each corner represents the proportion of each color. I used 1/4s for this example, of course the more divisions you have the more colors you will get.

Leigh said...

Thank you for that! It makes a whole lot of sense. Being a visual person, this made the concept "click." A very useful tool indeed.