Round 1 of Chromaticity Color Studies

After returning from Carol Soderlund's Chromaticity Fabric Dyeing workshop, I promptly ordered a few new Pro MX fiber reactive dyes and supplies to conduct more color studies on my own.  Last weekend, I started the first set of color studies using Strongest Red (312N), Deep Navy (414) and Golden Yellow (104) from ProChemical & Dye Company.  Half-yard cuts of PFD fabric were

  1. Presoaked in Soda Ash, and line dried
  2. Cut into 6"x7" swatches
  3. Tyvek label marked and attached to each fabric swatch

Three pure color concentrates (navy, red, yellow) were mixed up and portioned out to create 24 colors around the color wheel.
Dye Party Preparations

I began with a set of complementary colors gradations using complementary colors found opposite each other on the color wheel (ie. blue and orange).  Different proportions of each complementary color pair of dyes were carefully measured out and mixed before applying to each fabric swatch.  Given all the prepwork done earlier in the day, I only completed 3 of the complementary pairings that evening.  After the washout process, I was surprised to see significantly less saturated shades than I was expecting!  I went back to my notes and quickly realized my error.  While mixing up the dye concentrate, I left off a zero when calculating how much dye powder to use to mix up 1 liter of a 5% concentrate.  This miscalculation meant that my concentrate was only 10% of what it should have been to achieve maximum saturation!!  While I was tempted to start all over and mix up new dye concentrate, I was still pleased with my results and decided to complete the remaining 9 complementary pairings.
Complementary Color Studies

While I had planned to complete 2-3 more color study exercises, I decided to wait until I mixed up new dye concentrates.  Here is how I used up the remaining diluted dyes...
Set of 10" Squares Dyed in all 24 Colors

Four half-yard cuts were folded and pleated into a gardening tray prior to squeezing on the 24 colors in color order.
Colorful Stripes

A few more half-yard cuts were scrunched into a large quart sized container and any remaining dye was poured on top to create bursts of color.
Half Yard Color Bursts

Along with a few smaller cuts of fabric
Fat Quarter Color Bursts

While initially disappointed in the color saturation achieved, I have a few key takeaways from this set of exercises:
  • Taking notes of my process helped me to quickly identify my calculation error
  • The importance of double and triple checking my math/measurements
  • A lovely set of samples to add to my fabric dye notes
  • Some beautiful new fabrics ready to be used!
Once I have a break in my schedule, I will work on mixing up a new set of dye concentrates and continueing my color studies.  And yes--I will be double and triple checking my math!!


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you!! I learned so much in Carol Soderlund's 5-day Chromaticity workshop (the calculation error was all me!!) and can't wait to do my dye studies on my own as I wait to take another class with her in 2019!

  2. Although they may disappoint you, I like these lighter dyes and predict you'll find wonderful places to use them. Plus, you got this mistake out of the way!

    1. Just initial disappointment. I am glad I completed the full set of gradations and already thinking about how I plan to incorporate them into a quilt or two!! And yes--I will hopefully never make that mistake again!!


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