Friday, June 23, 2017

The Quest for Spring Green.

There are so many green hues in nature. But which ones really dominate in Spring? The answer probably depends on the plants in your view. But in creating a dye background for my Spring pieces, I want to capture the yellow-green I see in the new growth popping out of stems and branches. I also need that hue to coordinate with the gray pieces I've already made for Autumn so it can't be an intense hue. So to find my desired green, I ran several experiments mixing colors to produce my yellow-green. I tried various blue dyes mixed with Prochem's Sun Yellow. I tried Neutral Gray mixed with that yellow, too. And then I mixed compliments to get a duller green because the brightly colored ones didn't play well with the gray pieces. I mixed grape with yellow, grape with curry, bronze with tangerine. All produced some very interesting greens. I think, for my purposes with this series, I've settled on the bronze/tangerine mixture.
     One thing I found was that the color will change dramatically if the fabric is completely immersed in the dye bath compared to if it is just wet with the dye bath. Here's an example:
green produced by completely immersing
fabric in yellow/grape mixture

interesting but ugly sample using the same dye bath
shown above, but only wetting the fabric with it
instead of immersing the fabric in it
I think I've learned that only wetting the fabric with dye mixtures causes the colors to split. (Which may be a good thing sometimes, but not for what I want here.)
Completely immersed in a bronze/tangerine mixture
This one is very close to what I want. (The rectangle you see on the right is a shadow of my iPhone when I took the photo.) I tried overdyeing a piece of it in very dilute Marine blue to get a little more green and less yellow.
Overdyed sample
I love this piece of fabric, but it doesn't really go well with the gray pieces I have so I'll use it for something else. I wasn't expecting so much blue to come out pure. Something for me to remember about overdyeing... Some of the new color will show as its pure color. 
     So I might use the bronze/tangerine mixture and try getting the effect I want by printing on it with the right hues. I'm getting a little frustrated because I can get the exact color I want when mixing paints, but with dye, you can't see what you've got until after you've washed and dried the fabric after it has batched in the dye bath. Sometimes, while it is in the dye bath, it looks one color, but after batching, washing and drying it comes out different than what it seemed. I guess that is part of the learning curve. 
     While my samples, batch (24 hours), I work on smaller projects. I needed some coasters in my studio for putting on wet glasses with ice water or cups of hot coffee or tea and I wanted them to coordinate with the quilt my grandmother made for me. Instead of buying fabrics, I went to a bag I've been keeping of scraps of fabric leftover from dye experiments. I cut up pieces of those to make small collages and followed a tutorial I wrote here for my very first blog post on how to make coasters using old floppy disks. 
new coasters on studio table
All four coasters
      So that's what I've been up to. Trying to find the right green and smaller things. I think it is the scientist in me that makes me want to get just the right mixture. But I've decided that this week, I'll just choose one of the mixtures I've already tried and make it work in my series. I can change how it appears by the paint colors and values I choose for printing imagery on it. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts to let them know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.


  1. I like your approach to making a certain color, mix all the different yellows with all the different blues. I would probably just try different amounts of one blue and one yellow but that would only give a gradation.

    1. When I did each combination, I did it in gradations from color A to color B with 10 steps in between. It didn't take that long to do once the two stock solutions were already prepared and created a nice dye notebook for future reference. Again, the scientist in me made me be so nit picky.


Your comment is appreciated and will be posted after it is approved.