Finally I have done something I have been meaning to do for ages, that is, I have dyed a silk thread in each of the colours in my Landscapes Dyes collection. Believe it or not that is actually 60 colours. Doesn't look like that many, does it? I think there are only 2 or 3 colours in the range that I don't have. I'll probably get them eventually, if for no other reason than completeness.
I've long wanted to have a library of my colours so that I can refer to it before proceeding to dyeing threads for each project. If I find the exact colour I'm looking for there already I don't have to dye it. If I want something different I can refer to my stock colours and easily work out which colour is my best base colour and which colours I need to combine to get the colour I want.
Interestingly, some of the colours looked nothing like the colour indicated on the dye jar. I'm not sure whether that is because colours on the jar correspond to how the dye performs when used on wool, or whether the colours on the labels are just not that accurate. Some are sooooo different that I tend to think it's due to the former.
The biggest surprises were in the yellow range, especially Sugar Cane (3rd from the right) that came out more of a yellow brown rather than the soft yellow on the label.
I also wonder whether my surprise was due to the fact that many of these colours I have only used in multicoloured threads so that my impression of them was influenced by the colours I paired them with.
Another factor may be that, because I wanted the most intense and true colour I could get, I let the dye sit on the thread for at least 10 minutes so that it really soaked in before setting the dye in the microwave, whereas when space dyeing threads I tend to get it in the microwave sooner so that the colours don't bleed and become muddy. Delicious range of blues, don't you think?
It would be great to have a library in each different type of silk thread I work with, but the whole exercise was so labour intensive that it is unlikely to happen. Knowing this was likely to be the case I decided to make the library in my "work horse" thread. This is a fine thread that is the most used thread in my armoury.
Here's how they look wound onto bobbins and arranged in a box. As you can see, I wind very generous skeins. That's because my works tend to be large and I want to know that when I dye a thread I'll have enough to finish a particular project. As all dyers know, it is virtually impossible to accurately recreate a hand mixed colour and you definitely don't want to run out half way through a project.
I wound the bobbins while watching TV. It took me 20 minutes to wind each bobbin. At 3 bobbins per hour it took me roughly 20 hours just to wind the bobbins. Given that it probably took that long again to wind the original skeins and another 8 or so hours to do the dyeing, you can see why I'm not hurrying to repeat the process with my other threads.
Still, now that I'm done I couldn't be more pleased. It's going to make my life so much easier and I just love looking at them prettily arranged in the box.
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I am a hand embroidery artist living and working in the rugged and wild Central HIghlands of Tasmania.