Color Theory Part 2: exploring hue, value, tint, shade and tone

When you first start to explore color theory, chances are that you’ll run across a lot of new terms (and they might seem at first to all refer to the same thing – color)! However, once you dive into this fascinating topic – you’ll learn the subtle differences between things like hue, value, tint, shade and tone.

To start, let’s go over the broadest term in this group of color theory words: hue. In painting, hue actually refers to a pure color – red, yellow, blue – without any white or black added to it. But in a broader sense, hue is just a fancy word for color!

Another term you’ll come across is value – this word is synonymous to what we describe a color as light or dark. You can also think about value in terms of how bright a color is.

Tint, shade and tone are three other terms you might see when reading through color theory. Let’s explore these qualities a bit more in depth.


color theory for knitting

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Wildcraft Studio School Natural Dye Class

Last summer I was lucky enough to be able to take a day long class at the Wildcraft Studio School about an hour and a half outside of Portland. It was so nice to be able to spend the day outside exploring the woods and gathering plants with a group of other people interested in natural dyes and I came away with some insight into where I can find some of these plants on my own. I’ll be talking about dyeing with Blackberry, Sheep Sorrel, Horsetail, Lupine and Fennel on wool yarn and silk fabric.

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Intro to Dyeing with Idyes

Have you ever heard of idyes? Me, neither! Alison, our fearless Knit Picks Director, tells me that they’re acid dyes (like the kind Kim uses) but have a combination of cellulosic dye (for plant fibers such as cotton) and protein fiber dye (for animal fibers like silk), allowing you to use them on a large range of natural fiber projects. Inside each envelope is a little water-soluble packet (kind of like those dishwasher detergent nuggets) which you just pop into your washing machine and Vwalaa! You’ve dyed your own yarn.  I asked her to describe her process and take some photos. Here we go!


From Alison: “IDye packets can be a nice option for folks who

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An Intro to Jacquard Dyeing

Have you ever dyed fiber with Jaquard Acid Dyes? Neither have I! Kim here at Knit Picks is a pro, though. So I asked her to do some dyeing and take some photos, and she made it looks so easy!  She has two methods: one uses a crockpot and takes about 3 hours (including cooling time) and one uses a microwave and takes about (wait for it) 4 minutes! Can you believe it? It’s totally clean and easy, too. Here’s Kim’s description of each method:

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From Kim: “I love to dye fiber! The bolder the better! Here I’m showing you two techniques that I used with wool fiber.

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An Intro to Natural Dyeing

This week we’re celebrating the dyeing process. Do you know anything about dyeing yarn? I know nothing. Hannah here at Knit Picks does, though! She even took a class on natural dyeing. So I asked her to show me how to dye yarn from a few blossoms she found in her garden and it was so easy I couldn’t believe it. She wrote up the details and I made a video. Click through if you’d like to see!


Harvesting: “I picked both Hollyhock (left) and Marigold (right)  flowers from my garden in August.

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An Introduction to Color Theory

Whether you’re wanting to create a custom Fair Isle palette or are looking to experiment with dyeing one of our special reserve Bare yarns, it all starts with color. Which is why this week we’ll be exploring more about color theory!

Color is all around us – it has the ability to affect our mood, it can make us feel energized, it can make us sleepy, it can make us hungry. And yes, it can even affect our knitting and crocheting! Although the study of color is quite complex, getting a good foundation of the basics is all you need to expand the possibilities of your craft.


knitting color theory 6

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Podcast Call for Entries: Newbie Knits

Are you a relatively new knitter, or have you been knitting for a while? Our next podcast is devoted to new knitters and we want to know, “What is the biggest mistake you made in your early days?”. From gauge issues to pattern disasters, we want to know your biggest mess-ups. We also want to know what you wish you knew when you were starting out. Is there some small wisdom …

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Our Knit Picks: Fair Isle!

We are definitely lovers of fair isle knitting around here, and whether it’s the patterns from our new collection or elsewhere, we love marveling at the stranded knitting of crafters far and wide. Here’s a round up of some of our favorite Ravelry fair isle projects (in a variety of yarn weights!), as well as a sneak peak behind the scenes of the photo shoot for the 2015 Knit Picks Fair Isle Collection.


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