Optical Dyeing for Spinners

About class

Optical Dyeing: Based on a formula by weight, this is the purposeful blending of cyan, magenta, yellow, black and /or white dyed fiber amounts, to create what optically reads as a new unique color of fiber. Optical color blending is a trick of our eyes and our brain. When we place small dots of different colors next to each other, the human eye does not differentiate between the colors of the individual dots. Viewed from a distance, two or more colors placed near each other create the illusion of an entirely new color. As spinners, we can take advantage of this fact and blend pre-dyed fiber to create colors of our choosing. When we blend 50 grams of red fiber with 50 grams of yellow fiber, and then spin a nice two-ply yarn, the result will be a beautiful orange yarn. While the individual fibers will remain the original red or yellow they were dyed, our brain will interpret the color to be orange. So why not just dye our yarn orange? Optical dying produces heathered yarn that is more interesting, has more depth, subtle variation, and richness that cannot be produced by other preparations or dye processes. We will explore what happens when we move away from the 50/50 blends and explore the endless possibilities of color combination. Based on specific formula of pre-dyed fiber colors by weight, utilizing both the printer’s primaries of cyan, magenta, yellow and black, as well as, the painter’s primaries red, yellow and blue. We will blend colored fiber to produce new colors of your choosing.

Day one: Discussion of color wheel. 50/50 color blends. CMYK v. Red, Yellow and Blue

· Overview of several computer color pick free programs that will give us the CMYK breakdowns.

· Picking the goal color and developing the individual formula based on CMYK percentages. Saturation levels. Keeping good notes.

· Weighing the fiber. Blending fiber. Good drumcarder and blending boards practices.

Day two: Examining new color.

· Test batches. Possible adjustments.

· Spinning woolen long draw and why this is the best spin to showcase optical blending.

· Examine how all this information informs our ‘regular’ dyeing or fiber purchases, spinning dyed braids, and even color selection for knitting or weaving projects.

Class details


Optical Dyeing for Spinners



Class Dates



2 / 10 taken

Nov 2nd, 2019 - Nov 3rd, 2019

Class Times

All classes run 9am - 5pm unless otherwise indicated in the description above.

Wait List

For class dates that are full, please feel free to call us here at the studio and have your name place on the wait list.

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