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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!