Color shift in silk / Procion MX
  • Please explain color shifting when using Procion MX on silk, as opposed to cellulose fibers. Is this because silk is a protein fiber, not plant material? I understand that acid dyes are preferred on silk (I am still having some troubles) and wish to experiment with both types of dyes, in both dye baths and low immersion. I have read that shifting will not occur as much with primary color dyes, as opposed to manufacturer mixtures. Is this correct? What about using primaries to mix up colors? Would this reduce shifting at all? Is there a way to predict which way or another that the intended color will go to instead, when using fiber reactive dyes on silk, or is it more trial and error type of thing. Thanks ladies!
  • Some individual dyes work better on silk than on cotton; some work better on silk than on cotton. This means that any pre-mixed color can shift in hue, sometimes dramatically, because the result is as though you used more of one of the colors in the mixture than another.

    You cannot make any blanket statement such as "use more blue", because it depends on which blue you're using, and which yellow. The different single-hue blue dyes are chemically distinct and have slightly different properties, so it's impossible to make a correct generalization about all blues, or all yellows, or all reds, as compared to other colors.

    Single-hue unmixed Procion MX dyes will produce pretty much the identical hue on silk as on cotton; your results might be lighter or darker than on the other fiber, but since there's only one dye color present, you don't get the shift in hue. To select only these non-shifting unmixed dye colors, see my chart of Which Procion MX dyes are pure, and which are mixtures? . The names of the Jacquard Products brand Procion MX dyes are listed in the column for Rupert, Gibbon, & Spider on that chart.

    If you use Procion MX dyes with an acid, such as vinegar, instead of the soda ash, they function as acid dyes, rather than as fiber reactive dyes, and they do need to be heated or steamed, unlike when you use soda ash. An advantage of using acid instead of soda ash, for premixed colors, is that there is often less shift in hue than when you use soda ash.

    -Paula
  • we love you Paula!!!

    anet