Color Mixing Jacquard Primaries, with Bonus Math Fail!

Now that I’ve taken the plunge into commercial acid dyes, I’m building a color swatch catalog that I can reference for dyeing yarn a specific shade. That means color mixing exercises — starting with triangle dyeing.

I’m going to need to do this a bunch of times — partly because I don’t have 64 jars that I can use to knock it out all at once. But mostly because color mixing is more complicated than “red + yellow = orange, red + blue = purple, and yellow + blue = green”.

The ratio between colors impacts the final shade. Add more red than blue, and you can get a brick red. But add more blue than red, and you can end up with a navy. Or add equal amounts of each, and you might — MIGHT — wind up with an imperial purple.

I say might because not all primaries are the same. You’ve heard of warm and cool colors, but I find it easier to think of which direction the colors lean. If you mix a purple-leaning blue with a purple-leaning red, you’ll get a true purple. But if you mix that same blue with an orange-leaning red, you’ll wind up with a dull, muddy purple. That’s because you’re introducing a third shade to the mix — the yellow undertone that the red has.

In this episode of Adventures with Andi, I did the triangle mixing exercise with Jacquard Sun Yellow, Brilliant Blue, and Fire Red. Which gave me a great palette of fifteen colors at the end.

But not at the expected DOS or the intended ratios. Because math is hard.

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