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Tints, tones, and shades

Vivid viola shade in several values

Tints, tones, and shades are some of the basic terms used when talking about color. They can get confusing because sometimes other words are used to mean the same thing. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Tints – a pure color, or hue, that has been made lighter. With paint, this is done by adding white; with dye, we just use less dye.
  • Tones – a pure color that has been modified by adding grey. This needs to be a neutral grey, not a blue-grey or grey-green, etc.
  • Shades – a pure color with black added. Often we ask ‘what shade of blue is your favorite?’ even when we mean ‘what color blue?’ Don’t let that bother you. The grammar police are eating donuts with the quilt police. 🙂

A pure hue is often described as being ‘neutralized’ or ‘flattened’ – made less pure, or intense, or glowing. This is done by adding grey or black, or sometimes by adding the complement – the pure color that is the opposite on a color wheel.

CYM color wheel image from Wikimedia Commons.

The gallery below shows the colors I will soon be dyeing on demand. I’m also going to dye a glowing turquoise color called Breakers. As a reference, pages from Joen Wolfrom’s 3-in-1 Color tool are included. Some of the folks going to the Crow Barn Workshops beginning the end of September have asked for flat colors, so here they are! If you are a new customer, you can start the order process here. Existing customers – you know how to reach me, and thank you! For many more colors, order the virtual swatch book! We’ll do more colors as time allows.

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Small business Saturday: some numbers, and eye candy

DippyDyes isn’t the only merchant that has been filling your inbox with holiday shopping emails. Yes we have a sale too, and nobody else is apologizing for all the emails. Why do I feel like I need to apologize?

But anyway, this was to be about numbers. Today is the fourth day of the sale and it continues until Friday the second. Total emails sent: 1322. Total unsubscribes: 9. Total orders: 2. Gross profit: $85.16. So now you know why micro-businesses flood your inbox!
Now, borderline whine and gratuitous accounting stats over, here are some recent additions to the website. Click on any of the pictures to be taken to that fabric on the website. (Go ahead – you know you want it!)

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Sampling PFDs


Thursday, January 2, I got samples of 15 fabrics from Robert Kaufman. I added some other white/PFD fabrics I had on hand and dyed all of them in a single 10% OWG dye bath. the results are above, sorted with the darkest results at the bottom left and worst on the upper right. I have added the Kaufman white fabrics to my website, plus color choices of Kona®, Radiance and Utra Sateen if you want to order a bolt.

The left column starts with 400M and 419M from Testfabrics at the top. I scoured samples of everything, including those two, and they are on the left of each pair. These came pretty dark, but weren’t the darkest. Hampton Twill is next, then Essex (55% Linen/45% Cotton), then Organic Wide (57”-58”), then Ibiza Stretch Twill. The latter came out the darkest, and contains 3% spandex. It’s basically stretch denim and weighs 7.3 oz/sq yd.

The middle column starts with Ultra Sateen, which is not PFD, but dyes beautifully. Not a big winner in this experiment, but is great for other uses, like LWI and dye painting. And it comes in 11 other colors, too! Next is Organic Voile – 100% cotton and great for shibori and vat dyeing, as it’s very sheer. There’s only one sample here – I left the scoured one in the washer. Brussels Washer is  55% Linen, 45% Rayon and looks like linen; I thought the color shifted a little towards the red in this sample.  Pimatex and Patina are the next two, and Kona is at the bottom of the column. It also comes in another 270 colors!

The right column includes Organic Poplin, Pure Threads Dyer’s Cloth from James Thompson Co, Cambridge Lawn, 21-Wale Corduroy, which is from an old lot but is still available. Then there’s Laguna Jersey, Kona 60 and ‘Cherrywood’ muslin. The muslin samples were both prewashed; the one on the left also went through the scour cycle with the others. The muslin is on the website too, by the yard.

The far right are some miscellaneous fabrics, as follows:
Radiance – the silk side is showing. All the dye sites were filled with red first so that’s why there’s such a color shift.
Breezy Wide and the Seersucker are both polyester-cotton blends – Breezy is 65% polyester, the Seersucker is 45% polyester. It does give a nice light color, and it’s a fabric I love in warm weather. (What’s that?) The Stretch PIn-wale Pique is 96% cotton, but it’s no longer available. Oh – the seersucker is back in stock at Kaufman since I added text to the photo – just ignore the ‘NA’.  

As of this writing, 2/9, the Laguna Jersey is no longer on the Kaufman site. One fabric that I didn’t test is a bleached white muslin from Robert Kaufman, and there are dozens more – for next time! I hope you’ll see something you’d like to try – just click on the links to shop.

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In 2011 I had access to a photographing microscope, so of course I had to take pictures of fabric. The first is cotton sateen, and I think it’s very interesting. The rest are cool, too. My descriptions are not at all technical, and might be wrong. It’s just what I’ve picked up over time. I dye, I don’t weave.

SateenFront2Sateen front – selvedge is on the right. A sateen weave is ‘over several, under one, (or fewer than it went over.)’


Sateen back – selvedge on the left.


Broadcloth – the basic over 1 – under 1 plain weave we learned making potholders.NuSuedeBack

NuSuede polyester microfiber – the smooth back.NuSuedeFrint

NuSuede frontRadianceBack

Radiance cotton-silk sateen. This is the back cotton side.


Radiance – the front / silk / warp side.