The Background Story

When choosing how to do the background of my “old rug” pattern, I knew I wanted something light, but interesting and relating to the colours of the scroll. I decided to do a spot dye with just a very small amount of the dyes I had used for the scroll. (the scroll used 1/4 tsp dye, the background used 1/128th tsp of the same dyes… violet, grasshopper, turquoise….and I also added 1/128th tsp lilac, each in 1.5 CBW with citric acid added to the cups. I did just 1/2 yard the first time, and knew I’d need more.DSCF5452

I felt I had agitated it too much during the process, leaving a muddy background colour, so the next time, I was careful to leave it alone while it was in the pot taking up the dye. The first batch also didn’t really have any of the grasshopper green visible, so I strengthened that dye bath a bit. (a heaping 1/128th tsp. of dye)DSCF5711

Although it looks more green in the photo, in real life, the green is not green at all but yellow. I tried hooking a bit of background with it, and didn’t like the results at all. The yellow jumped out and wasn’t pleasing to my eye. Back to the dye pots.

For my third attempt, I left out the grasshopper dye altogether, and used blue violet and turquoise  (both majic carpet) lilac, and 440 blue (both pro chem)….still being careful not to stir the dye bath so there were bright spots of  white left.

The differences between batch 1 and batch 3 are subtle, but important in achieving the results I’m after..


Strips of the first batch are at the bottom, and you can see that the third batch at the top is both brighter and a little more intense in colour.

In choosing how to hook the background, I was guided  by the pervading circular motion of the scroll.  I am using the brighter version of the background to make little cats paws of colour, and using the white background parts of this version around the leaves and flowers to help make them pop. The duller version I am using to fill in.DSCF5724

Again the differences are very small, but I think they add to the effect, and I may as well put my mistakes to good use.

1 thought on “The Background Story

  1. terrific examples to explain your theory, thanks so much for sharing 🙂 I need to get brave and start dying. Hope to see your progress in RL Tues

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