Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Shades of Grey

...or why I don't care that Tangerine Tango is Color of the Year!!

If you are a regular reader of my blog, or even an occasional visitor to this site, you've probably heard me whine about how I almost flunked Color Theory class. It's true, I admit it, I absolutely love color, but the theory and concept behind it totally escapes me.

As an undergrad, I studied African Art with a wonderful art history professor whose "beginning-of-the-semester" mantra was to state that he hated when folks said: "I might not understand art, but I know what I like!" Well, I'm that person, Mr. Art History Professor. I love color combinations that are odd and quirky and often defy color theory.

However, this blog post is about one of my many "in progress" projects...and it's all about GREY! That is SHADES of grey. And, I think I have that correct. Don't I?

Because a SHADE is a color with black or grey added to it. And, that's what I've done. But if you look at it backwards, maybe it's a TINT, because that's when you add white to a color. I'm pretty darn sure VALUE is not a factor in this, because that has to do with how light or dark a color, er, also known as HUE, is. See what I mean?!? How can anyone possibly wrap their head around this and pass Color Theory all at the same time?

Of course, you all are much smarter than I am, so you can correct me if I am wrong, but for now we are going with SHADES of grey.

Now, to the project. Me, myself, and I decided that the last t-shirt rug I wove was an utter success so I wanted to make another one. Only this time, I wanted a certain color instead of using "as-is" t-shirts. Thus, I visited the local Goodwill and Salvation Army and allowed myself to only buy white t-shirts on half-price or quarter days. After building up a stash, I began the dyeing process.

Truth be told, I planned to do this rug in Tangerine, because I know you know, Tangerine is Color of the Year!! Since, I couldn't decide, I hollered at my husband/professional color selector and told him to pick a color between Tangerine and Pearl Grey. That's how this color was selected...very scientific.

You can see in the picture below that there is a gradation in color...what I am referring to as a SHADE. :) The top half or lighter-colored shirts are dyed using RIT Pearl Grey.
The darker grey color is actually RIT Chocolate Brown (a very yucky reddish brown color) overdyed with RIT Navy. It turned into a splendid, unplanned grey with warm overtones.

Although all the t-shirts were white, they took to the dye differently, as you can see from the photo, giving me all those spectacular SHADES.

Of course, I'm not 100% happy with these colors, so I think I'm going to throw in some black t-shirts. What do you think? Well, since I can't hear/see your head shaking (or not), I'm just going to go with it! I think it will give it a nice contrast. And do NOT ask me to define contrast...I just know that I like it.
Apparently, I've been planning this rug in my subconscious for some time. Because hidden away in my attic, in a tub labeled: "I ain't never gonna weave again" I found this coordinating cotton rug warp!!

I keep myself on a pretty strict "creative schedule" so this Sunday I will begin the warp. My top-secret plan is to have it ready to dress the loom by the time my sisters come to visit for Memorial Day so they can help me wind it on!  They don't know this, but that is my grand plan.

Of course, I still have to cut all the t-shirts into yarn and do my calculations. Yes,'s almost as bad as color theory!!


  1. I think when you spend time with natural coloured fleeces you can't help but be attracted to shades of grey. I love tangerine too, but I'm head over heels for the infinite variety of grey in the fleece on the drying rack right now. Your new rug will be wonderful.

  2. I am so envious--you have a loom! Love this essay and the photos that promise something greylicious!

  3. I used to overdye all grey fleeces I could get my hands on. Now, I am learning to appreciate all the variations in them. In fact, I just finished spinning a grey skein of Jacobs wool last night...very pretty and heathery.