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Weaving with my stash

Weaving with my stash

So, what are you going to do with all this – stuff?  Its a valid question posed by my grandson.  He’s helping me clear out the house and storage spaces and there really is a lot of ‘stuff’ to deal with.  Time to get weaving.

I chose a warp that had a khaki base made up of lots of different fall colours so it could handle loads of different colours in the rest of the warp.  Colours don’t have to ‘match’ when weaving. The don’t have to match ever come to think of it.  This is the colour palette I chose.

hand spun skeing of khaki green beside mixed fall colour threads

This warp was longer than usual because I wanted to attach any subsequent hand spun warps to the wastage.  Wastage can be very expensive and finding a way to minimize this loss is good economics.  My plan is to have a yard/meter of extra fiber at the end of the weaving that I can tie the new warp onto.  This will save me wastage of a meter/yard per warp.  The only wastage will be a few inches at the beginning and end of each new warp until that extra yard is all used up.

The colours look great and the yardage I was able to get from my hand spun was really surprising, kind of shocking actually.  Really looking forward to getting started on the threading and weaving.

multi-coloured warp on leash sticks to keep cross in place

When making a warp a cross is introduced on purpose to keep the threads separate.  This cross is maintained throughout the threading process; it protects the warp from turning into a tangled mess.  The oldest and simplest way to do this is by inserting sticks on either side of the cross, tying them securely in place and getting on to the next step of threading the loom. This time I chose to thread from front to back of the loom.  Starting by threading through the reed – the metal comb installed in the beater – and then threading the threads through the four different harnesses.  Each thread has a specific spot on the loom where it fits.  Its a bit like programming a computer by hand, really by hand.

The threads were sett at 10 ends per inch which might be a bit snug, but it looks good and once the scarf is finish it should be soft and snuggly.

repair a broken warp thread with inserting and weaving thread

When a thread broke I was not surprised, it’s almost inevitable, especially with the irregularities of hand spun, so I did a repair by pinning a thread in place, threading it through the reed and it’s spot on the harness.  Then it was weighted in the back of the loom with a small weight.  I use clip on table cloth weights for picnic table cloths. Once the damaged thread is woven in a sufficient length the true thread can be brought forward, pinned in place, woven for a little distance, then the weight removed from the patching thread.  This patching thread can be cut.

If you look at the purple stripe, everything looks fine.  The scarf is done, the length is just what I wanted and then I spotted it.  A whopper of a mistake that will set me back a little on my plans to reuse this warp, save time, blah, blah.

I have been weaving a very simple tabby, over-under, super basic.  It’s deceptive because its very difficult to get an even look to such a basic weave.  The threads had to be pulled into position, not beaten.  This way they would make nice little squares when the scarf was washed and fulled (hopefully).

Then I spotted the threading error, nearly at the end of all this fussing around drats.

Not threading error
Threading error

Not the end of the world, just a bit disappointing.  I’ll have to rethread about half the loom, and be more careful this time! Oh, and fix that single green thread that has errors all the way down the middle of the scarf.


Focus on Color in 2015 – 1st Quarter Studio Challenge

Focus on Color in 2015 – 1st Quarter Studio Challenge

The overall theme for the studio challenges in 2015 will be color. Who doesn’t love to play with color? I think though that sometimes you might shy away from learning about color theory. It just sounds too technical and too much work. Many artists have spent a lifetime learning about color theory but you don’t need to get overwhelmed. Just jump in and start learning more about color with our quarterly challenges this year. This first quarter, I will give some basic information about color theory and the challenge is to learn about color theory and apply it to how you create. That might include making a color wheel with fiber or it could be mixing dye colors methodically and making color scales on a piece of paper to document your results or it could be blending already dyed fibers together to see what colors you create. I will be doing several posts over this quarter about how to make a color wheel, how to mix color and make color scales and how to develop color schemes from a color wheel. You could do this with paints, colored pencils, papers, fabric, fiber or dyes. Choose which ever medium suits you best.

Color Wheel of Wool

Color occurs when light in different wavelengths strikes our eyes. Objects have no color of their own, only the ability to reflect a certain wavelength of light back to our eyes. As you know, color can vary in differing circumstances. For example, grass can appear gray in the morning or evening or bright green at noon. Colors appear different depending on whether you view them under incandescent, fluorescent or natural sunlight. Colors also change according to their surroundings.

thread color wheel

There are three properties of color which are hue, value and intensity. Hue refers to the color itself. Each different hue is a different reflected wavelength of light. White light broken in a prism has seven hues: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Remember Roy G. Biv? White light occurs when all the wavelengths are reflected back to your eye, and black light occurs when no light is reflected to your eye.

Color value refers to the lightness or darkness of the hue. Adding white to a hue produces a high-value color, often called a tint. Adding black to a hue produces a low-value color, often called a shade. Value can be used for emphasis. Variations in value are used to create a focal point for the design of a piece.


Intensity, also called chroma or saturation, refers to the brightness of a color. A color is at full intensity when not mixed with black or white – a pure hue. You can change the intensity of a color, making it duller or more neutral by adding gray to the color. You can also change the intensity of a color by adding its complement (this is the color found directly opposite on the traditional color wheel). When changing colors this way, the color produced is called a tone.

Earth and Moon

Certain colors have an advancing or receding quality, based on how our eye has to adjust to see them. Warm colors such as red, orange or yellow seem to come forward while cool colors such as blue and green seem to recede slightly. In the atmosphere, distant objects appear bluish and the further away an object appears, the less colorful and distinct it becomes. You can use this tendency to give an illusion of depth, by using more neutral and grayish colors in the background.

Various color schemes can be used in your work. A monochromatic color scheme involves the use of only one hue. The hue can vary in value, and black or white may be added to create various shades or tints.

Stewart Stephenson - Ruth

An analogous color scheme involves the use of colors that are located adjacent on the color wheel. The hues may vary in value. A complementary color scheme involves the use of colors that are located opposite on the color wheel such as red and green, yellow and purple, or orange and blue. Complementary colors produce a very exciting, dynamic pattern.


Or how about triadic? This color scheme involves the use of colors that are equally spaced on the color wheel. The primary colors of yellow, red and blue could be used together in a color scheme to produce a lively result.

I am certainly not a color expert. (Most of this information came from this website.)  One of the things I try to do is when I get new painting/color supplies, is to make a color wheel and mix the different colors together. I am always surprised by what comes out. One yellow is not the same as another yellow. One yellow may tend more toward the orange/red side of the color wheel, while another may tend toward green/blue. These different yellows will yield absolutely different results when mixed with other colors.When I got some Golden heavy body acrylics, I mixed green and red and got purple. It was certainly not the color I was expecting. Try mixing your colors beforehand and making a sample of each mixture in a journal. If  you don’t keep a journal, just use a sheet of paper and keep it with your paints.

I found an excellent resource about color, books about color and just why it is important to learn more about color. Check out Roz Wound Up in this post. Here’s another one that has tons of information and links about color. There’s enough information there to keep you busy for a while.

Carded Batts

When you’re thinking about color this quarter, ask yourself a few of these questions:

• How can you use color to evoke different emotions? Do you connect certain emotions to certain colors?

• What does using a monochromatic color scheme do to your composition? Complementary? Analogous? Or Triadic?

• How do you choose your color scheme? Is it affected by the subject of your composition? The mood you want to achieve? What is the impact of choosing a color scheme that is the opposite of your normal choice?

• What would your composition look like with all the same values? How can you use value changes to improve your focal point?

• Have you tried mixing various paints to see what colors you can achieve? What colors do you achieve when you mix two colors together? What happens if you add black to your colors?

So the challenge for the first quarter is to learn a little bit about color theory and show us what you have learned. Create a color wheel, mix colors together, try a color scheme you wouldn’t normally use, get a color wheel and use it to choose your colors for your next project. Explore color in ways you haven’t in the past. Take one of the questions above and expand on it. PLAY WITH COLOR!!! 

Please join us on the forum to show everyone what you’ve done with color. Or you can contact us here on the website and we’d be glad to post about what you have learned. But please do share as we all can learn from each other’s experiments and knowledge.

If you are interested in a good online or in person course, check out Level One Color Studies at the Gail Harker Center for Creative Arts. I took the course last summer and I highly recommend it. It is either online beginning January 13 or at the center in May. No affiliation, just love all her courses. It is well worth the investment.





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