Sea Green and Sapphire

A blog about a love of colour, addiction to fabrics and joy of crafting…

Colour Alchemy: Green


Green yarns

If I said that the yarns in this picture actually do not contain a single hair of green fiber, it would be hard to believe, wouldn’t it?

That’s why optical colour mixing is so fascinating. Seurat of course famously used the principle in his pointillist paintings, but it works just as well in textiles. You take wool in various colours and blend it thoroughly to make a completely new colour. In my case, for the last couple of days I have been blending bright sunshine yellow and navy blue in various proportions on my drumcarder, and so made lots of different shades of green.

Acid dyed Finnsheep wool in Sunshine Yellow and Navy

I started with fiber dyed in Sunshine Yellow and Navy

Green created from sunshine yellow and navy

I blended the yellow and navy fiber on my drumcarder (clockwise from top: 90% yellow/10% navy, 80% yellow/20% navy, 70%/30%, 60%/40% and 50/50% mix)

I spun the fiber and ended up with these lovely green skeins (from left 90% yellow/10% navy, 80%/20%, 70%/30%, 60%/40%, 50%/50%, 40%yellow/60% navy, 30%yellow/70% navy).

I learned a couple of interesting things from this exercise. Firstly, the mixes the contained a majority of yellow blended very well and the results were clearly green. But once I had gone over the 50% navy mark, and most of the fiber was blue, the results didn’t appear quite as blended and bluey green as I had expected. They just looked like navy with yellow fibers in them (although all of the blends had been carded the same number of times(4)  in the drumcarder).

It was also interesting to note that the greens were remarkably different from the equivalent mix created by mixing the colour in the dyeing stage. Perhaps this is not that surprising really, but it was interesting observation nevertheless. You’ll see the comparison in the picture below.

A comparison of different methods of colour mixing. The small skeins on the left were a result of mixing navy and yellow in various proportions in the dyeing stage. The large skeins were done by carding the same proportion of yellow and navy fiber together.

You can see that in the small skeins, the ones where the colours were mixed in the dyeing stage, the blue dye begins to dominate in much smaller proportions and the results are thus much bluer compared to the yarns where the colours were mixed in the carding stage.

Green is one of my favourite colours and now that I have so many lovely shades to choose from, I think I will have to make a lovely frog-green pair of socks for myself. I have just bought some nylon fiber so learning to make a good sock yarn blend will be the next step. More of that soon….


Author: Heidi

I love colour wherever I find it, in art, photography, gardens, nature. I also love all kinds of fiber arts; spinning, dyeing, knitting, felting, sewing.

6 thoughts on “Colour Alchemy: Green

  1. That was very interesting. Thanks for sharing your experiments with fiber colors.

    • I’m glad you found it interesting, Veronica, so did I! I’m definitely in an experimentation mode at the moment so I’m sure there will be more posts like this in the coming weeks 🙂

  2. This is too cool! And it’s amazing now to think of the possibilities between both dyeing and blending the fiber… Not enough time in the day.

    • You are so right – so many colours, so many possible combinations and different ways of blending, you could spend a life time doing it 🙂

  3. Can I ask what brand of dye you used to dye the wool?

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