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Color 101- Color Harmonies Part 3

Triads, Tetrads and Sequences

In previous videos I have taught about color principles and color harmonies We are down to the last 3. Today we will be talking about Triads, Tetrads and Sequences. If you would like to watch this video, click here.

Triads are simple 3 colors that are equidistant on the color wheel. We’ve already talked about these as Primary, Secondary and Tertiary colors. They are the 3 colors that are equidistant. So red, yellow and Blue are one combination and orange, green and purple is another one and them you have red-orange, yellow-green and Blue-violet and finally yellow-orange, red-violet and blue-green. This color harmony is highly excitable. And so the values that you use are going to be very important.

Next is Tetrads: 4 colors that are equidistant on the color wheel. Examples of this harmony are orange-green-red-blue. They are basically 2 sets of complementary colors. Another example would be purple-yellow-red and green. To use the tertriary colors you would use yellow-orange, yellow-green, red-violet, blue violet. Again these colors can fight each other because they are complements. So be careful with them.

And the last color harmony I’ll be talking about is color progressions or sequences. This is one of my new favorite color harmonies to dye. This is when you take 2 colors and combine them in varying amounts. Here is a gradient set. I started with yellow and blue. and then I combined these to make the other 3 colors. Thees are like analogous colors because they are all related. This is a very pleasing and eye relaxing when used in shawls or other garments. I have 3 sets of Sequences on the website for sale and the Raddiant pattern to make a great shawl with them.  

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Color 101-Color Harmonies Part 2

Complementary Color and Splits

This is the 3rd in the series about color theory and how to use this knowledge to pick colors and patterns for your knitting or crochet. If you want to watch the video, click here.

Last time we talked about the soothing color harmonies of monochromatic and analogous color harmony. Today we will be getting more “exciting”. Our eyes and brains are always looking for excitement. The 2 color harmonies we are talking about are complementary colors and split complementaries.

Complementary colors are those that are directly across from each other on the colorwheel. So red and green are complements as are orange/blue and purple/yellow. These are the most exciting to our eyes. When they are right next to each other they make our eyes almost vibrate. So these are almost “dangerous” together. When using this harmony, there are a few guidelines that I think will help you make a more harmonious interaction. First if you are going to make stripes, your stripes should be several rows wide. If you change your color every 1 or 2 rows, the colors will actually start to mix and your sock or shawl will take on a gray tone. This is because when we mix the two complementaries together they do make a neutral gray or brown color. So wider stripes will be better. You also need to pay attention to the values of the complementary yarns you are using.

Remember when we talked about Value? If you pick a very high value yellow and a very low level purple, you will be multiplying the excitement. If you pick a red and green that are really close in value, you will be multiplying the chances of getting a grayed out shawl or sweater.

I would also suggest that you swatch! I know this is a dirty word, but do it anyway. A few minutes of swatching the actual stitch and row pattern, will save you from spending time on a pair of socks or shawl that you absolutely hate.

Let’s move on to color harmony #2 for today. This is Split Complementary. This harmony moves away from the extreme of complementary and can be more pleasing and more soothing than a complementary color scheme. So what is it? To find the split complementary, you look at the color on either side of the complementary color.

Here are some examples: Yellow and purple are complements. So the split complementary would be purple and yellow-green or yellow-orange. Think of this as purple with chartreuse/lime green or purple and cheddar. These colors were wildly popular in quilting a few years back.

The other side of that would be yellow with red-violet or yellow with blue-violet. In nature you would see these colors in pansies and irises. We love those right?

For the red-green complement, you would have red and teal or red and charteuse. That sounds horrible right? But how about green with red-violet and green with red-orange.

And finally the orange-blue complement, you would have orange with teal or orange with blue-violet. Or Blue with red-orange and blue with red-violet.

Here are some patterns that work well with complementary or split complementary colorways. My new shawl is complete, but the pattern is not. As soon as it is available, I’ll let you all know.  The Olilia  shawl is really nice with complementary colors. You can find it on Ravelry.

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Color 101- Color Harmonies and a Look at Value

I’ve just started a You Tube Channel, did you know that? Here is the link to my channel.

Last week I posted a video about color value and began to talk about color harmonies.  Here is the video. If you would rather read about this topic here it is:

Hi everyone, Today is the second in our series about color theory and how to use it in your fiber work. I realized that I didn’t talk about value in the last video. Value is one of the hardest principles to see and make sense of. Basically value is how much light is reflected from your work. It is measured by a gray scale. This 10 step scale was made famous by the photographer Ansel Adams. His work is so rich because he was deliberate about offering many different values in one photograph. It is exciting and interesting to our eyes and brains. And colors naturally live along the value scale. For instance you can’t have a high value yellow. It will always be at the light end of the scale. And alternatively, purple will always at the bottom or high end of the scale. There are 2 easy ways to “see” value. One way is to look through squinty eyes. This reduces our ability to see the color and leaves us with a more black and white view. The other way is to look through a red lens, like this. The lens adds red to all the colors you are looking at and again makes them more monochrome and you are able to “see” the differrence in value. In our work, value differences can add interest to your fabric. Just as we have a natural affinity for certain colors, we also have a natural affinity for value schemes. Some people really prefer high contrast and other prefer low contrast. So I urge you to look at your wardrobe and even the artwork on your walls and see what the values in your life say about you.

The last principle I want you tell you about is tints, tones, and shades. Tints are a color with white added. In the dyeing world these look like pastels. Tones are a color with gray added. And Shades are a color with black added. These will give you different values in your work.

Alright it’s time to move to color harmony. What do I mean by that? We will be looking at how hues work together. Some colors like each other and some really do not get along with others very well. Today’s harmonies are ones that are quite easy and accessible for all crafters. They are the most relaxing and calming of the harmonies.

The first harmony we are going to look at is MONOCHROMATIC colors. This is a color scheme that uses one hue but changes the value. Many gradient sets are monochromatic. They are all dyed with the same dye, but the saturation is different in each skein from tint, through tone and then shade of the color. This harmony is very relaxing on the eye. There isn’t anything jarring to look at. It is usually a gentle progression through the fabric. There are many shawls that work well with monochromatic colors. Olilia, botanical garden, etc.

The second harmony today is the ANALOGOUS colors. These are colors that lie next to each other on the color wheel. Here is another color wheel that was made for painters, really. But it show us the analogous colors. I have 2 favorite schemes here. I love green, blue, purple. And I also love red, red-orange and orange. This harmony can be relaxing to look at, but it also have more visual excitement for your brain. You will find gradient sets made with analogous colors in the marketplace. I have Tequila Sunset that works through combos of yellow and cherry to make some lovely corals, salmons and oranges to work with. And what kind of shawls can you use here? Raddiant, Maryland My Maryland, Joker and Thief.

So until next time: Happy Making!

Resources:

The Colorwheel I love:

 

Color Evaluator to use for Value:

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Stash Appreciation– Be a Color Explorer


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Most makers I know have a stash of one kind or another. It may be beads, fabric, yarn, roving, threads, magazines, papers or all of the above.  Yes, I do have a stash. Even though I dye my own yarn all the time, I also buy yarn and roving that calls my name. Very rarely to I think to myself, “Oh I could dye that!” No, I would rather support my fellow maker and treat myself to another beautiful addition.  Stash has developed a negative connotation, almost something to be ashamed of.  I am changing my own thinking about this and looking at my stash as a collection. I’ve thoughtfully and artfully collected supplies over the years with which to express my colorful side and the creative force that lives within me.

One way to explore your sense of color is to explore your collection. This is how I find inspiration from my collection. This is like being an explorer or an archaeologist.

Want to explore more? Sign up here for my free 3 lesson Heart Your Yarn Collection ecourse. I will led you through this lesson and 2 others that will help you to sort out what you have collected and what additions will really make your collection sing. Four worksheets are included as well.  If you have questions, leave a comment here.

[Tweet “Free Ecourse Be a Color Explorer and fall in love with your yarn collection all over again!”]



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Purple Munsell Exercises

This is the last of my exercises in the Munsell Color book. I have learned a lot doing these exercises. Probably more importantly is that these exercises have trained my color “eye”.  There were three exercises, “purple”, “red-purple”, and “blue purple”.   You can see from these photos that there are various concentrations of red and blue in these 3 color exercises.   Here is what I started with today.

 

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Next,I sorted out the most gray of the chips. These belong on the value scale. Next I matched the color chips to the saturation of the gray chip.  Unfortunately, I’m missing one chip….I did look and look, but it vanished….

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Green Color Exercises

 

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It’s been awhile since I pulled out my Munsell Student Color Book.  There is a green exercise though.  So I pulled apart my color chips and pulled out the mounting paper.  I have to tell you that I was rusty. I found that when doing these exercises it is easier to compare one or two chips. Does this one have more gray or more pure hue.  Then I can place them in the correct place.

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5 YR Munsell Color Exercise

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Here are all the color chips. This photo does not do justice to the colors. It is a dark dreary day and it’s hard to get a good photo.
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Here are the chips all in their proper place. As you can see I’m missing one piece. But the kit only says there will be 24 chips and that’s what I have….

The red-yellow cards have so many brown or so called “neutrals” in them. The darker shades of red-yellow go immediately into the brown territory. Mahagony, tan, beige, leathers, tobacco. Also most skin tones are in the red-yellow family.

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Color–Part 3 VALUE

No doubt! Value is the hardest color dimension to talk about. I have found that seeing the value of color is a learned skill. It is hard to differentiate and so it is very frustrating.  Value is the lightness or darkness of the color, it is also is a measure of color purity and saturation.  Here is the gray scale that is used to help determine the value of a hue. While it is relatively easy to see the differences in value between white, gray and black, it is not so easy to see the value of colors. The color itself skews our perception of the value. Some hues like yellow are more likely to be at the top end of the scale, while purple is more likely to be at the darker end of the scale.

 

 

The human eye can see about 5 steps of this scale. The “pure” white, “pure” black, neutral gray and a step between those 3 values. In the real world, there are many more nuances of value. When I was learning about value, one strategy that helped was to squint or partially closed your eyes and look at the yarn, fabric, or photo and the value would be easier to see. The squinting reduces the number of color sensitive cells (cones) that are activated, while the cells that perceive light (rods) are still activated. Try this with a favorite photograph and see if you can differentiate among the values in that photograph.

There are a couple of “tricks” that we can use today.  One is the computer.  You can take a photo and change it to a black and white photo.  Also you can use red or green plastic ……to see the value differences.

 

 

If you are intrigued and would like to learn more, register for my color class on September 6th at 1pm.  Go to the fiber class page to register.  We will be doing lots of experiments to train our eyes to be better color detectors.

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Color Exercise–Red

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Here are all the color chips in the exercise
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I start the exercise by finding all the chips that are “shades”. That means that they have varying amounts of grey mixed with the color. I line these up from lightest to darkest
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Then I begin to match the value of the chips on the left and put those in order from least amount of red to most amount of red. Do you see my mistake? I couldn’t figure out where that one chip went….until….
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I checked the pure hue from the first color wheel exercise. I was able to see that I had the wrong chip in the 5R space and I could move the one pesky chip into the correct spot. I am getting better at seeing the differences in the chips. In order to get better at seeing color, you have to train your eyes.