Playing with weft colors

I finally started a project page so I can link my turned Ms and Os experiment to this site.  My goal had been to use up the yellow in warp, and find a way that it would make that yellow not annoy me.  Using my color wheel, I played with a split complementary - yellow with a red-purple and blue-purple.  But I didn't consider the weft at the stage of planning my warp!

I will also upload a photo of the measured warp.  It looked green!



Posted on Thu, 04/14/2016 - 16:48

Your fabric is fantastic. The design and the weaving. Your color choice is rich and deep, except the yellow.

I ran into this once when painting. There are Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary colors. Your yellow looks more yellow green. Try laying a warmer color next to your fabric, such as yellow orange (a shade of gold). I don't know this is the answer. It is only what I would try.

  • Primary - red, yellow, blue
  • Secondary - mix 2 primary colors - green, orange, purple
  • Tertiary - mix a primary and a secondary - yellow orange, red orange, red purple, blue purple, blue green, yellow green


Posted on Thu, 04/14/2016 - 19:09

From Cathie Beckman:

I like the orange and yellow combination too. I usually like combinations where there is one color used with another color that has the first color in it's mix. In this case orange has yellow in it's mix. If I cover up the orange, I like the red and yellow, this yellow in a small dose because it has such power, this red because it's not a tremendously dark value as the other colors, and they are both primary colors which I tend to like as well together. The last one really surprises me. That is the last one on the right end. Is it a red violet in their? it's almost a complementary contrast, but not quite. But either of the violets( blue or red) would have the three primaries just in different proportions , so that might be why I like it too.

i'm just thinking out loud, don't mind me:) nicely done Queezle!


and from Tien

It might be more helpful to think about the effect each color combination has rather than which you like best. There is really no such thing as a "wrong" color combination - just one that doesn't give the effect you want. I'm not a fan of beige and other neutral color combinations, because I generally want an energetic feel to my pieces. Bright colors and lots of contrast add energy to a piece. But you wouldn't want them in a piece that is quietly meditative.

I've found that a lot of color theory can be summed up in three "rules":

  1. Colors that contrast (in hue, saturation, or value) tend to intensify each others' contrasting characteristics. So putting a bright (saturated) color next to a dull one will make the bright color look brighter and the dull one look duller. Putting a dark color next to a light color will make the dark darker and the light lighter. Putting a blue next to a green will cant the blue towards purple and the green towards yellow at the border, and putting yellow next to purple (its complement) will intensify both colors. So if you really want a bright orange to pop, surround it with a dark dull blue.
  2. Saturated colors and "warm" colors (red-orange, orange, yellow, yellow-green) advance, meaning they catch your eye and also seem closer, than cool colors (purple, blue, blue-green). Red and green can cant either way depending on whether they're yellow-leaning or blue-leaning. I saw a quilted piece with a blue gorilla head against a bright fuchsia background once; unfortunately, my eye kept being drawn to the fuchsia background because it was so much brighter/warmer, and so it took me almost a minute to realize it was a gorilla head!
  3. Contrast, particularly value (dark/light) contrast, draws the eye and also adds energy to a piece. One way to help establish the focal point is to make it contrast strongly with the background. A bright pink dot against a dull blue background will draw the eye naturally. Conversely, a royal blue dot against a light pink background will draw the eye. The more contrasts, the "busier" the piece. Good or bad? Depends on the visual effect you're trying to create. If you're after a quiet, meditative piece, use mostly low-contrast colors (preferably also dull colors) with maybe a tiny splash of a higher-contrast color to prevent it from being totally dull. If you want energy (think Fiestaware), use bright, contrasting colors.

There is of course a lot more to color theory than that (optical mixing is really important in weaving), but those are the three "rules" that I find most useful.

What I see in your sample: the yellow and orange are low contrast hue-wise, and value-wise, but very saturated. So you get a harmonious but bright look, and the two colors mix visually into a nice yellow-orange. The purple and yellow are high-contrast in both hue and value, so they intensify each other, so the combination is really energetic (it practically vibrates!), but because you've got lots of small dots of yellow in the purple, optical mixing happens and kind of browns out the purple.

The red and yellow are relatively harmonious hue-wise, but the red looks like it's blue-leaning and also not as saturated as the yellow, so the yellow pops forward. It has more contrast and thus more of a feel of busy-ness than the yellow/orange, but less than the yellow/purple.

The yellow/black is interesting because black is as dark and as desaturated as it gets. So put next to a light and saturated yellow...the yellow really pops. But if you mix black with yellow, you get olive the optical mixing makes the yellow look a little greenish. (Compare the yellow with the yellow in the red/yellow combination next will see that it looks a bit warmer than in the one with the black weft.)


And from Francine:

The effect that colors have on each other starts from color theory with reality test of tone doing the work for which color claims the credit.  I see colors in the photograph that may not even be colors of the thread, whether due to photography, computer monitor, or the basic effect from adjacent colors. The orange section has lower tonal variation with interesting pop effect between purple/neutral gray that calls to the orange as though split complementary even though the orange and yellow are analogous. 

In addition to greater tonal contrast, some of the other combinations create more difference in the reading of the colored bars --in that category I like the one to the right of the orange in the picture.  

Color is more fun in spring.  Our trees are mostly still bare but pops of color awaken the palette.

Posted on Sat, 04/16/2016 - 13:09

Yellow can be a color thug; it's really interesting to see it used to provide that little pop that really makes a piece have presence without screaming "I'm yellow!!!!!!!!".  Very nice, and the notations about color are very interesting, too.  I'm sure everyone has done something and then looked at it and thought, what happened here, this isn't what I had imagined.