Saturday, September 27, 2008

An answer to a letter

Yesterday I got a sweet letter inquiring about formula books and swatchettes for Majic Carpet Dyes.

Here was my reply

I'm happy to hear of someone who is newly excited about dyeing.
I have found through the experiences of others, the purchase of recipe books and swatchettes to be a grand exercise in frustration.
Things rarely turn out as you wish or expect.

I find an experiential method much more beneficial to actual learning. It is more interesting and freeing as well because you can make up what ever colour you wish, whenever you wish, even those not dreamed up by the formula makers but only by you.

First dye a sample of all your dye colours , 1/32 tsp over 1/32 yd of wool.
This way you know what colours you are dealing with.

Then over 1/16 yd try combining equal proportions of two colours, for example: 1/32 tsp reddish brown + 1/32 tsp. turquoise
Do this with all your colours.... or buy this already done by Dorothy Bray ( on the OHCG teaching list )

This visual aid along with learning how to create values by the amount of wool used with the amount of dye..... 1/32 tsp over 1/32 yd. creates and medium dark colour. 1/32 of dye over 1 yd creates a pastel...... will set upi on a path of wonderment.
What if I combine these three or those four ?

You will know all you need to to create wonderful unique colours all your own.
Also most dye books create formulas all in the same value range and the cannot be used together effectively as motifs won't have contrast.

If this doesn't help you I'm sure RHF can direct you to what you want

Thanks for writing


  1. good morning Wanda.

    what colourful fun you've been sharing with your students! i'm up a little early today, as i'm getting ready to start my week of Little River Inn Rug Camp today!

    i created a dye recipe collection using the 3 primary colours to create a Rainbow of pure colours. i myself, love the muddy colours, so my collection is only a starting point. i agree with your response to the question, but put my recipe collection out there anyway.

    i'll be teaching a mini-class in dyeing this week... trying to share too many techniques in too little time.

    great blog! i'll be back to visit again! Laura wP

  2. What a terrific idea to dye a 1/32 yard sampler of each dye color. Trying to rely on Cushings little cardboard sampler just makes me frustrated. I'm always trying to figure out what color to dye over the huge amount of "as is" plaids. This will be a great help just to see what the color looks like dyed over basic Dorr's off white!
    Dana in VA