Determining the intensity of Colour Fade Yarns

While I had my pots and pans out dyeing roving, I decided to dye some yarn for a colour fade idea I’ve had in my head for a while.  The colours had been inspired by me knitting the Wintergreen Mitts.


I wanted to mix the same blues and blue-greens again, but my idea required double knitting instead of 4ply. After a wee miscalculation and some over-dyeing I ended up with these…

Blue-green colour fade yarn

Originally I’d wanted the fade to end on the pale blue, but looking at the skeins the pale green-blue looked marginally lighter.  So while the sensible half of me said ‘end on pale green-blue’, my heart kept whispering that the pale blue was lighter.

I wrestle pictures in my mind of each combination for the rest of the evening. However, in the middle of the night I woke up remembering a trick that a lovely DYC customer had shown me. If you take a picture of your yarn in black and white, it will show you which colours are really most saturated (is that the word I’m looking for?)

So this morning I took some pictures…

Black and white colour fade yarn
Left to right: Dark blue, dark blue-green, pale blue, pale blue-green.


Black and white colour fade yarns
Left to right: Dark blue-green, dark blue, pale blue-green, pale blue

Pretty obvious. Huh?

It’s funny how we try to fool ourselves. All the time I couldn’t prove the pale blue-green was the less intense colour, I carried on arguing with myself, even though I really knew the truth.  Once the camera gave me indisputable evidence, I stopped arguing.

However, I am now arguing with myself that the difference between the two darker and two lighter skeins is too much and I ought to dye two in-between blue skeins and knit the whole thing blue. I’m also concerned the camera is showing me that the dark blue-green skein is less marginally less intense than the dark blue skein. What do you think?  Blue-green colour fade yarn





24 thoughts on “Determining the intensity of Colour Fade Yarns

    1. Thank you. What I need is some honest opinions. So I’ll bear in mind that you think you err on the subtle side and see what others say. But I do think I was also in denial about this difference and other people will agree with you. Thanks again 🙂


  1. I think that the black and white photography trick is amazing!
    I also would dye a medium shade of each color – and then I would just sit and look at it, because those are my absolute favorite colors, and they look heavenly together. 🙂

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    1. Thank you . To be honest i think I’m fed up with dyeing and am trying to wiggle out of doing more. Challenge is though I only need a limited number of shades, so more blue might mean I end up kicking out the blue-green altogether.

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      1. They would be great for colorwork mitts, the colors look pretty and there is enough difference between light and dark. But does that mean you start dying again?

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  2. I like the dark blue-green but it doesn’t seem like a natural variant of the other three – not only too dark but too green? If you took that skein away, the remaining three colours might give you the effect you want.

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    1. Interesting – I’ll have a look at that idea in daylight, although the paler blue-green is just a dilution of the darker one, so it should fit with that. Maybe it’s the camera/screen causing the distortion?


  3. From a colour perspective the purple is made from blue and red and the green is made from blue and yellow, so the green holds the lighter tints – these are the subtle things the eye picks up that our heads go into a spin about. So in this case the colours featuring red in the dye will be heavier than the colours featuring yellow. Don’t know if this is any help to you, but it’s all I got 🙂

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    1. Thank you. Great to get an artists perspective. It’s helpful because it explains why the pale blue green is lighter. Although by argument that the dark blue should be heavier than the dark green blue and I’m erring on that being the other way round? It is however also even more useful to know for future dyeing. Thank you 🙂

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      1. I think it’s so funny – my laptop is showing your ‘dark blue’ as purple and I find it so hard to photograph purple in my work, it comes out as shades of blue. I’ve come back and had a second study. What you are seeing as density of colour could be down to the measurements or density of the dye amounts. From the first black and white photo, looking at the shades of greyness, I would say that the dark blue marginally has the deeper shading and the way you have the colours arranged there and in the last photo shows the gradation of hues. I can’t see the picture in your head, but if I was knitting these up I know I would think the lightest green is a tad too light, it doesn’t really reflect the deeper shade. Whereas the two purples – sorry blues – are obviously related. Making sense?

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      2. Yes, different monitors are deceptive. Mind eyes are too sometimes. Maybe we should swap laptops 😉 The amount of blue dye in the two dark skeins is actually identical. I think the pale green-blue skein is reflecting the light badly too. Thanks for all your thoughts – it’s really helpful to hear your perspective on colour even if our monitors are at odds. What am I like asking you guys questions that are impossible, because of the light/technology? 🙂

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  4. It’s funny because all I see is purple and greens, no blues 🙂 Isn’t it funny the way that color photographs sometimes? I also think the super lightest one doesn’t really belong and maybe you need just one medium color to tie the other three together. Or maybe your lightest color just needs an extra little dip time in the bath?

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  5. The dark blue is more colour intense in both the colour and b/w picture. Does that matter? The two blues look good together. There is a bigger difference between the green, but again does that matter? I think they will look good knitted up as mittens. Honestly I love the yarn just the way it is.

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  6. The colours are stunning. The dark ones are lovely together, and the light ones are lovely together. I am not sure about all in the same project, as it would probably depend on the amount of contrast you are looking for.
    My own yarn love is for more intense colours though, lighter, pale or pastels are not so much me, unless of course, natural.
    All the best, it is not an easy decision. 🙂

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