SOME HISTORY BEHIND MY PHILOSOPHY OF DYEING AND SELLING
Long ago, dyeing wool overwhelmed my interest in actually doing projects with wool. My main interest is in penny rugs and applique, and I do love to design, so as business becomes more routine, I hope to pick up my craft again, and offer original patterns later. My style is a bit different -- much more elaborate and intricate than your average primitive penny rug, and it may not be to everyone's liking, but I think it takes penny rugging to a new place, so you "creative iconoclasts" may appreciate it.
When I first started dyeing, the scientific half of my brain required that I find some sort of organized way to trial and select colors. Fortunately, I came across an old article in a back issue of "Threads" magazine by Linda Knutson, which described trialing colors using a 1% dilute dyestock and all metric equivalents. This seemed the perfect, organized way to go about my "big project". I created a huge spreadsheet of every possible color combination in 2.5% incremental changes, using only red, blue, and yellow dyes, and then, starting with 100% red, I began trialing every 10th possible combination of the three primaries to see what happened - to educate myself about the properties of color and the dyes I was working with. Well, after hundreds of hours, and a LOT of trial and error, I came up with a system that allows me to reliably and easily reproduce a huge variety of colors and shades, using only white wool and the three primary colors. Rarely do I use even black, and only to create special antiqued effects.
I found that dyes and color follow a relatively predictable mathematical progression. For instance, in the middle hues between red and blue, discernible differences in hue occur at about a 10% incremental change. For instance, if one hue is 80% red and 20% blue, the next secondary hue that is discernibly different, without being too different, will be 70% red and 30% blue. (I could certainly offer the 'in-between color', but at some point one has to stop, or one is offering 3,000 colors for sale!) This varies, especially when yellow is thrown into the mix, but those combinations still follow their own somewhat predictable path. And the values of each color also follow their own mathematical rules. For instance, when a secondary color is predominantly blue, a 5% ratio of dyestock to wool produces the lightest value I offer in this range, then 10%, 20%, 40%,, 80%, and 160%, to produce the darkest value, in fact this is the most common progression of dye-to-wool saturation I use when creating values. The more red and yellow are added to a color the higher the dye-to-wool saturation must go, starting at up to 10% saturation for the lightest value, all the way up to 300% for a predominantly yellow hue. Tertiary colors always tend to run darker, naturally, with the complementary color thrown in, so they, again, have their own different, but still predictable rules. There is a book to write in there somewhere, so that will come at some point.