Happiness can be found in your drumcarder


Deb Menz at the wheel.

A demonstration of fiber color theory with the color tools from Deb's book Colorworks: The Crafter's Guide to Color.

Color blending on the drumcarder.

Deb spinning newly blended batts.

No more relying on happy accidents

I remember the last day of my beginning spinning class when, after a month of spinning a white fleece the class had washed and prepared, we were invited to mix colors on giant drumcarders and spin the results. What a treat for me! We were paired up and had tons of colors of solid roving to choose from and, well, I kept choosing. I (of course) let my teammate make additions, and we ended up with a very colorful batt. I remember the excitement of seeing how the colors combined on the drum, but even more vivid is the memory of how one color would pop and become more visible only to recede and be replaced by another as I spun through my half of the batt. I couldn't help thinking how I had a hand in making this magic happen. The small skein of yarn I created that afternoon was immeasurably more precious than the yards and yards of white yarn I had spun throughout the class.

I relived this experience vicariously when I recently watched Deb Menz's new DVD Color Works for Spinners. In the video you can often see Deb's awe as the colors come together, and it is infectious. You can see the joy she takes in the new color blends she creates. Deb's passion is apparent in her books (Color in Spinning and Colorworks: The Crafter's Guide to Color), but it is irresistible in her video. I use Deb's books for in-depth fiber color theory and color inspiration, but it is incredible how different it is to see her blending colors and explaining aspects of the color wheel on screen. I couldn't resist wanting to try some of her experiments to see what I could come up with and to see if I could actually plan something rather than relying on happy accidents (as I often do).

In the video, Deb focuses on the three characteristics of color (hue, value, and saturation) that you can manipulate to get the results you want. She explains how to use the color wheel to figure out what hues to blend together and to know what results you will get based on the value and saturation of hue you select. She impressively uses these theories to match a color chip in front of the camera. My favorite part of the video is when she uses the pull-out color tools from her book Colorworks: The Crafter's Guide to Color so you can see them in action. She uses the cards to figure out different color harmonies (complementary, split complementary, triad, etc.), then matches these to fiber colors and blends them in a drumcarder to get a variety of different results.

I am hoping that with my newfound color knowledge, I will be able to both experience the pure joy of color and be mindful in creating useful beautiful yarn.

Spin on,

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