Re-Discovering The Joy of A Box Of Crayons (Sort Of)

Perhaps you remember using Crayons to color when you were a kid. Me, I loved to color, but I REALLY loved the big box of 64 different colors. It seemed there was an endless variety I could use just by picking up a different Crayon.

I don’t remember doing much to make my own colors. In the last few years as I’ve become re-energized in art, I discovered the joy I could find in taking a simple 12-color pack of colored pencils and using their rainbow to color-code my daily journals. I dabbled slightly in color-blending to see what that might be like, but the use of color in my artwork was a bit of a “black box”(mystery). I was happier working in a grayscale (white to black in various proportions).

In learning about fiber and spinning, I’ve watched many videos about techniques and tools, but occasionally, I’d find myself watching one about color. This might have been about dyeing fiber to get specific colors (makes me think of the big box of crayons).

I’ve also seen some videos on blending fiber to achieve particular blends that might have more life to them because they are made of more than one solid shade. This has stuck with me.

A couple of years ago, I bought three shades of fiber (red, yellow and blue) as close to pure primary colors as I could get. 

I wanted to do some color-blending to see if I could make a color wheel set of colors just from those three colors. It took until now to try it out.

I used a rather analytical approach by measuring out 1 gram of red and 1 gram of yellow, and used my hand combs to blend the two colors together until I could see “orange”. Hmmm. That seemed to work as I went backend forth and continued to blend.

First pass on the combs. No real blending yet.

I used the yellow and blue (1 gram each) and did the same.

again, 1st pass, no blending

 It was more blue than green. For some reason, the yellow wasn’t blending into green. After adding a bit more yellow, I began to see a hint of a pale green. I realized that what was happening was that the yellow really was a lighter tint than a pure yellow, and so, it wasn’t strong enough to produce the green I had expected. Interesting.

I kept going to make red and blue turn into purple. That was the most successful because those two original fibers were very close to pure colors. I did one more blending round taking one primary (red, yellow or blue) and one secondary (orange, green or purple) and putting them together to form the the color in between.

This was fun! Now for making yarn. I spun them in sequence as on the color wheel and then plyed them into a 3-ply yarn using the chain plying method to keep the colors together. Voila!

What fun this was. I can’t wait to do more color-blending.


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