Knitting · Quilting · Sewing

Color, Value, Tint, Shade…..Part 1

From a very young age I was into anything fiber based. Along with fiber comes colors, also of interest to me, how colors work in your crafting. Here’s some help for those who are struggling with color.

“Color derives from the spectrum of light interacting in the eye”, thank you Wikipedia. So color is what our eyes perceive in the items we see. Color is represented by the rainbow, ROYGBIV. Absence of color is white, black is the total absorption of light. Now let’s break down color.

Value: In color there are different values, this is reflected in the gradual steps of color from a dark to a light.

Tint: The addition of white to colors to make them lighter.

Shade: The addition of black to colors to make them darker.

When you shade or tint your colors you are changing the value of the color. You are creating a gradient of the color. So, one color can have a range of value.

Value can also be compared between colors. When you choose fibers to use in a project, make sure the values between the colors makes for a good range. My recent project shows this well.

With natural light you can see there are 3 colors, cream, red, green. And within each color you can see differing values. The red has 2 darks and a medium. The cream has 3 values. The greens have a light, medium light, medium, medium dark, and dark.

Now, let’s look at it in monochromatic.


The creams have very little value difference here, but they still have a high value difference to the others. What happens to the reds and greens? Look at the top of the wreath, there’s a light green just off center and below it 2 dark values that run together. In the color shot we see that they are red and green, but they read the same in mono. At the bottom center there is really no distinction between some of the pinwheels in mono. And we see again, a red is reading the same as a green. If I had paid more attention to my arrangement in a mono setting, I might have changed the positions of some of the squares. That’s the take away from this project, look at things in mono.

Check back tomorrow for a continuation of this discussion


6 thoughts on “Color, Value, Tint, Shade…..Part 1

  1. I did not study any color value and I still don’t fully understand it, I just know what “goes” with some of my knits and what doesn’t. I’ve dabbled in creative arts since I was a little girl, my mom did everything under the sun and I was close by watching her.

    1. Then you have that innate sense of color that needs no study. My mom was a grower, I can’t even make grass grow! My “talents” came from my grandmother and aunt. How lucky to have a daily source. I fear I have not passed on my skills to my daughters.

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