Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My First Color Wheel

I'm taking a workshop in October where I will need some tapestry yarn...' bring the primaries and some secondaries'. I thought a bit...which primaries...and which secondaries? The definitions vary all over the place. I thought a bit more and decided I would simply dye some yarn to match the ten colors on the Munsell Color Wheel. I've never dyed a color wheel before...sounded like fun. Plus, I rarely mix primaries to get the secondaries when dyeing so why not experiment.

One of my friends loaned me a pamphlet called Colour Samples for Fabric Dyeing by Susan Rex. It had most everything I needed to pull off this project.

There are a couple fabric dye triangles in the back. I used the 4% DOS dye triangle to match the best I could the color chips from my Munsell Color Wheel. The chips were generally more saturated than the dyed fabric so it was not obvious which fabric matched some of the chips. You can see the fabric samples and the chips in the photo.

I then realized this wasn't going to work too well anyway since when I dye silk with fiber reactive dyes the colors tend to shift during the dyeing process. So, I decided to do some graduated dyeing in 10% increments on small samples. I am going to create the outside of the dye triangle with my own silk yarn. In this way, I can pick the best match of my own dyed yarn samples with the Munsell color chips and dye those colors in larger amounts.

For tapestries I use one of two yarns, a silk cotton blend or 100% silk. The latter I like to use on my small Shannock and that's the loom I am bring to my workshop. Since it is 100% silk, I have some options on how to dye.

As you can see in the photo, this silk yarn is a grayish blue. I know from past experience its tough to get a good yellow with this yarn since it will push green. But I do enjoy the cast I get on the dyed colors from this yarn. I decided to do two dye triangles...one with the grayish blue yarn as is and one with the grey color stripped out. It's a bone colored yarn once the color is removed. It's not white, so the end results may be skewed. But by doing this I will have a good idea what colors I can realistically achieve.

I also had to decide which DOS -depth of shade I should go for. The Munsell Color Wheel uses the maximum chroma so the darker the better. I did a test on the turquoise primary to see what a variety of DOS's would look like. I've never tested how saturated I could make a yarn. I tested .1% to 8%. Once they are dry I can see how saturated it can get...while wet I don't see much difference after about 4%. It's good to see the turquoise took...we had some problems in the past with the dye...another reason to test.

It is real hot and dry today...not like the last two days where the fog stayed around all day and I had to wear a vest to keep warm.

It is a great day to dye so I spent half the day dyeing little samples of yarn. How many...let's see...a tad less than 40. Here they are drying- quite bright and cheerful.

And yes...there does seem to be a bit of yellow there.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Shortest Route

I have been working on a series I call Deja Vu which exemplifies the many approaches and paths one can follow through life. Here is a photo of one of the pieces. It is called The Shortest Route. I have completed two other in the series and I think I have another two in mind to complete the set. I had originally thought three would be the number. But the ideas keep popping up in my brain.

They are all done in hand dyed silk with dyed warp. I have been exploring negative space and exposed warp through out this series. In the next several weeks I intend to have these three 'framed' and ready for show. I have completed the one with the slanted warp. It actually was not hard to weave and once framed perhaps a photo will appear.

I won't be able to start any new ones until perhaps November. I am going to take a Color and Design workshop with James Koehler which should keep my brain focused in other directions...at least for awhile.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I spent the day working on a collaborative tapestry that my tapestry group is working on. The piece is for the Harmonies Exhibit for the Color Connects Conference in Riverside March 6-9th 2009. The Harmonies Exhibit is an unjuried exhibit that focuses on collaboration. Our tapestry group is currently working on two pieces.

In the past our group has done a number of collaborative pieces. In the past our collaborative pieces have been individual pieces based on a common theme. Once we did a snake and cut the cartoon into into individual pieces. Other times we have a theme and certain constraints and we each weave our own tapestry. Once we did a 4 by 6 inch piece with the theme of Vintage TVs.

This time we are all working on the same tapestry; one person at a time. I am the 5th of potentially nine people to work on this piece. The inspiration for the piece was a photo of a poppy field. There is no cartoon. The colors are the conference colors for Color Connects. Basically, you weave whatever you want with whatever yarn you'd like until you feel you have woven enough. Then you pass it on to the next person.

I got this tapestry at our last meeting. Today I worked on the mountains and sky. I wanted to get the piece up to the bottom of the frame. Done.

Much of the yarn in the piece is wool and I can feel my palms burning. Fortunately I found some non wool yarn to weave the mountains with. Unfortunately, I couldn'' find any non-wool yarn which matches the colors in the frame. But it's done...it will be interesting to see how folks finish off this piece.

I wasn't sure using the conference color would provide enough value contrast but it seems based on the second photo there is enough. The black and white photo however does quickly point out there is no focal point in this piece. It might be possible to fix that with a flock of birds or a sun or moon in the unwoven part. Time will tell how it all weaves up by the remaining four tapsters.