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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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The Wonder of One-Touch White Balance

In an effort to provide the best images of my fabric online, I finally learned how to set the white balance feature on my camera correctly. The photographs of solids and my virtual swatch book require the best color rendering possible. Turns out the camera has a super-quick way to set it up. While it does require four clicks to get there, once the menu item is open, it really only needs one click to set it. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are two versions of the same picture:

Two versions of a photograph of Kona(r) grey fabrics, one with, one without white balance
Top: Kona® grey fabrics without correction
Bottom: Kona® grey fabrics with white balance corrected

If you have any of those Kona® fabrics on hand, you can judge which picture shows them more accurately. If you don’t, you can believe me when I say that the corrected version is far better than the uncorrected one.

You can also see this picture along with 430 pictures of DippyDyes solid fabrics in the Virtual Solids Swatch Book found here!

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Doesn’t everyone use three timers at once?

At DippyDyes, we dye a lot of solid fabric. The easiest way to do this is with a washing machine. For three-yard pieces, a table top washer is ideal. The washer does the stirring for you, because if you want solid fabrics, you must stir. A lot. And then stir some more. Up to 90 minutes for the darkest values.

From left: phone timer, washer base with timer, kitchen timer.

Here’s where three timers comes in. There’s a timer built into the washer. That runs, stirring the fabric for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes of being still, it needs to run for another five minutes. So when I start the five minutes on, five minutes off period, I set the washer at five, the kitchen timer at ten minutes and I set my phone timer for 30 minutes. The ten-minute timer reminds me to jump up and restart the washer for another five minutes. The washer does a good job of stirring AND of snarling a three yard piece into a mess, and it just doesn’t have hands. So at the 30 minute mark, it’s time to completely rearrange the fabric.
Yes, there’s a little compulsiveness going on here, and thanks to that, I get good solid fabrics. If you’d like to learn more, you can sign up for my email list here: (http://eepurl.com/cHfygr)  Thanks!
Gotta run – my timer just beeped at me!

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400 yards in 30 Days – ????

Monday I did something I have never done before – I ordered ten pounds of dye powders from Pro Chemical. Only eleven different colors – I got two pounds of two of the colors, and eight ounces or one pound of the rest. I’m about to embark on a solid adventure – dyeing 400 yards of fabric in about a month.
Now, lest you think I’m completely out of my mind, I’m not talking about dyeing 400 different colors. To give you a little perspective, I’m starting with just twenty colors – ten yards of each. For inspiration, and to help me narrow down my choices, I went to the Robert Kaufman Kona (R) color story page, and picked summer, ’cause it’s on its way. That group is shown at right. Then I thinned that down to just the twenty colors that I’ll be dyeing. That’s my first, firm goal – 200 yards. And, as projects involving color often do, the concept has grown. Since I’m going to mix up those 20 colors, if I mix up just a little more than what I need for ten really saturated yards, I’ll be able to dye the same colors in a lighter value. So the next couple days will be spent preparing and documenting my progress – and getting some orders filled as well.
Sue Reno’s project “52 Ways to Look at the River” has inspired me to track and share what I’m doing, plus it adds a degree of accountability. If I know people are watching, I’m going to have to keep at it! I hope you’ll follow along – and comment on the blog. I’m going to give something away — but I’m keeping that under my hat. #400yds30days