The dye brand testing is over, at least for the goals I originally set, so now it's time to chat about the characteristics of the colors produced from each brand. (If you haven't followed my testing, here are the links for the reviews of Brand 1, Brand 2, and Brand 3.) It's easy to assess the differences in colors when you look at them in person, but since computer monitors might be tuned to different parameters than mine, I'll do my best to describe the colors. Here we go, The Yellows!:
Brand 2 is missing because the dye powder refused to be combined with water to form a solution. Now, Brand 1 and 3 yellows turned out to be nearly the exact same shade. That isn't too surprising, since most dye companies will have similar yellows. The thing which I noticed most between these two yellows is the quality of the color. If I compare the wool or nylon fibers, the yellows are very similar. However, when I look at the two silk samples, I can tell that the yellow from Brand 3 yielded a stronger hue than the yellow from Brand 1. That said, Brand 1 covered the fiber more evenly than Brand 3 (there were fewer white spots on the Brand 1 samples).
I actually liked all of the reds, and I was a little surprised how similar they turned out to be. Brand 1 (on the left) turned out to be a paler ruby red, especially on the merino. For all of Brand 1 dyes, the colors turned out significantly paler on the merino than the other fibers I used. Brand 2 was the perfect sexy red you would see on the lips of an attractive model with smooth skin...and you would be extremely tempted to buy that lipstick. The goopy consistency of the dye solution didn't make the fiber sticky, which I feared, but the goopy-ness made me worry that I wouldn't get consistent colors from batch to batch. It turned out a bit more splotchy than Brand 3. Dye Brand 3 had the best dye coverage on the fiber, but it isn't quite so ruby red as Brand 2--Brand 3 turned out to be slightly more orange-y on the nylon fibers--it turned out ruby red on the merino and silk.
The blues were a pleasant surprise. The blue from Brand 1 reminds me of the deep sapphire blue of the Heart of the Ocean (<---you remember this reference, right? It was the hottest item in 1999), but only on the silk (which was splotchy) and the icicle nylon. The dye didn't take very well on the merino (which looks grey-ish blue) or the BFL. Brand 2 reminds me of the caribbean ocean. It has that tropical hue which makes you think about sandy beaches and vacation. It also dyed the fibers extremely well. Brand 3 turned out to have a mix of 1 and 2 colors, so it's a brighter sapphire blue color than Brand 1. It didn't dye the merino as deeply as I hoped, but the resulting blue is a nice middle-of-the-road hue.
First, black is a difficult color to obtain on wool in general. Further, to get a deep shade, you usually need a 3-4% DOS (depth of shade = saturation of color), but in all of these samples, I used a 1.5% DOS so I could compare how well the dyes dyed the fibers. When I want to make a darker black in the future, I'll increase the DOS. Brand 1 produced yellowish blacks, though this yellow tint was diminished on the icicle nylon sample. The merino black was most severely tinted yellow when compared to the others. Brand 2 has no yellow tint, but it dyed the fibers the poorest of all the samples. The merino actually just looks grey, and I don't think it would turn out significantly darker even with a deeper DOS. Brand 3 also has a yellowish tint, but it is only a slight tint--it can only really be seen on the faux cashmere. The merino dyed to the best, darkest, shade than the other two. I expect the 3-4% DOS with dye Brand 3 to return the best results overall.
I know pictures on a computer screen aren't the best way to discern the differences between slight shade differences, but I hope I have elucidated some of the reasons why I went with dye Brand 3. So, what's my plan for these samples? Well, I don't really need to keep the full ounce for each color of each brand, so I think I'll be making some batts in the near future. Yay! Have you found these posts helpful? Let me know in the comments below!