Carol R. Eaton Designs

Carol R. Eaton Designs

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

When Black is Blue!

Achieving a really great deep dark black remains a challenge for me! Since I don't seem to be able to get the results I want I decided to explore the differences in the black dyes from my stash. I pulled out 2 different blacks; silk black and new black by ProChemical. The best way to understand the properties of a dye recipe is to use the Confetti Technique. This method calls for the dye to be placed in a strainer and sprinkled across the surface of the fabric. Because the dye is not immersed in water the color particles that make up a dye separate and I can see what colors dominate the recipe.

My most common result is a blue black. 

I expected to see blue particles and was surprised to see yellow and red! 

Next I folded the damp fabric (soaked in soda ash and water for 30 minutes). This time I used the "silk" black.

The silk black definitely has reds/browns in the recipe.

Switching back to the "new" black I discovered it reads a deeper black but still feels a little "blue".

I have a couple more blacks to experiment with and it's interesting to see the subtle nuances between the recipes. I've always thought of black as an "easy" color because it's so... black... kinda simple. I know better now and have a new respect for the color! I will continue to work and explore to find the "perfect" black.


  1. Have you thought about using 2 different blacks together on one piece of fabric? This should eliminate the blueish or reddish effect you will have with using just one black, especially when dyeing a gradation.

    1. What a great idea! Thanks - I never thought to combine the same color! I'm sure you're right on target... gotta go try it!