638 Silver Gray acid dye turning 100% wool yarn very purple
  • Not sure if I'm getting intended result since gray is such a subjective color. Yarn is coming out well-saturated but very, very purple. I saw a post about getting midnight blue with 637 Gunmetal and a suggestion that temp was important in color development, but as far as I can tell I'm following instructions from the chart: http://jacquardproducts.com/assets/jacquard-site/product-pages/dyes/acid/Acid Dye Instructions-2014.pdf

    I'm still pretty new so if there's a problem with my process, I'd love if someone can point it out. This has been working very well for primaries but I understand blends are different. Assuming this is the right result, will addition of Jet Black to either of these colors darken them or just turn them a different color?

    Ingredients:
    4 oz 100% wool (dry weight per manufacturer), pre-soaked in <2-4pH citric acid solution for at least 30 min<br />up to 0.25 oz 638 Silver Gray powder

    Process:
    Dye bath brought to 2-4pH with citric acid
    Bath brought to between 190F and rolling boil
    Attempt 1: Added damp yarn to bath and cooked no lower than 190F for 30 min. On the first try I let the yarn cool somewhat in the bath, dye bath ran clear when I pulled the yarn. Yarn had good, even saturation but had strong purple cast.
    Attempt 2: Put dyed yarn back in the pre-soak for a half hour and repeated previous process exactly, adding remaining dye stock. 30 min cook, pulled it when warm this time per forum suggestions (dye bath ran clear again). Yarn was darker with more saturation, but still very purple.

    Per the book "Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece" I've been making liquid dye stock that is 1 tsp to 8 oz water, cooking in the bath for 30 min, then letting it cool in the bath if it doesn't run clear by the end of the cook. The pre-soak and dye bath have been 2-4pH with citric acid. I've assumed I should err on the side of hotter and more acidic and this has worked for primaries so far. The wool I'm using has been processed and doesn't felt, so I'm not concerned for the fiber at high temp.

    I figured if I mix the entire 0.5 oz jar of powder in 8 oz of water to make a liquid stock, and if 0.5 oz of powder dyes 2 lb of fabric, 2 oz of the liquid stock should be appropriate for 4 oz of fiber, right? According to the chart I see some colors require more dye for saturation, but if the basic calculation is correct I can work out for those colors as needed. I can measure liquid accurately, but a 1gm kitchen scale doesn't measure powder as accurately.
  • This a bit late for a reply, but as there are possibly other people struggling with the purplish-gray problem:
    It is in general very hard to dye a "neutral" gray (or a saturated black) without adding some blue. I'd go for a not-purple blue, something like Turquoise of Sky Blue.
    I've achieved the best neutral grays by working with complementary colors - f. ex. Navy Blue and a warm yellow like Golden Yellow, or purple and a bright/lemony yellow, green and red etc - but this needs a bit of experimentation in order to find the right balance bw. the two colors, and you'll probably have to be prepared to adjust a bit during the dyeing process.
    Overdying in a very thin/light blue dye bath may also work - it all depends on which gray one is looking for.
  • Oh I can't believe I never answered this. Thank you Sanne for your suggestions. You are right. Complementary colors are a good way to solve this problem. If too purple a grey, I would suggest adding yellow to dull it down and make the grey more neutral.

    There is no true grey for acid dyes, so all grey brown and black colors are a mixture. You can influence how the different colors strike by heat, pH, and time dyed.

    I do have a tip for black and grey colors that are too warm(too much red/purple like this). You should try using vinegar if you are using citric acid, or cut waay back on the citric acid. I have been finding that grey and black tend to move towards red when they are at pH lower than 4.

    If you think 2 and 4 are not that far off, realize that 2 is 100x more acidic than 4. That is how the pH scale works. Every 1 unit is 10x. So 2 pH units is 100 and 3 is 1000. That is a great difference in acidity.

    Mixed colors like browns, greys, and blacks seems to like around 4-5pH, so you might test your dye bath, or just use vinegar from the store which basically can't make your solution go below 4.