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Feb 14

Carding for Color Part I: Understanding and Analyzing Color

By Deb Gerish

Spinners have a lot of artistic control over their raw material. We can choose a fiber or fibers to spin, then we can manipulate diameter, twist, plies, and yarn texture. Add in the dimension of color, and we can create handspun yarns that commercial mills can’t reproduce. Personally, I find all that freedom a little scary—color in particular has always intimidated me, and I’ve never gone to art school. But when I wanted to “design” colors for my handspun, a little color theory went a long way.
If you want to blend your own colors, theory can help you too. Before you pull out the hand carders (or whatever blending tool you prefer), read this tutorial and try out the exercises. You’ll probably find, as I did, that your confidence with color grows very quickly.
You’ll need only a few tools for this part of the tutorial:

  • color brochures for interior paints—grab them at your local hardware store or download one from a paint manufacturer’s website
  • smart phone camera, photocopier, or scanner
  • multicolor fiber braids or photos of them

Start gathering supplies for part 2! You’ll need half an ounce of white, black, and at least one pair of complementary colors (blue and orange, red and green, or yellow and purple). If you have colors in your fiber stash, start collecting small amounts. If you don’t, get a grab bag of colors—they’re widely available online at Etsy and other craft sites. If you have larger amounts, or more colors, by all means don’t hesitate to pull them out. Once you start blending your own colors, you won’t want to stop.

Download the PDF for the complete tutorial