In this post, we’ll look at the effect of the brightness of your yarn colours. Notice I said brightness? This isn’t about how light/dark a colour is, but how bright/dull it is.
The brightness matters because a bright colour seems to ‘come toward’ you while a dull colour seems to ‘move away’ from you. That means:
- your eye/brain thinks the brighter colour is physically closer, and this is what makes a colour and weave pattern like log cabin seem 3 dimensional (by the way, not everyone can see these 3D effects – depends on your eyesight)
- your eye/brain notices the bright colour more, so your eye thinks there’s more of that colour, and it also makes any pattern sections in that colour stand out more
To expand on those points… to maximise the 3D effect of log cabin, you need to use colours with a high difference in brightness – i.e. one very dull and one very bright.
In terms of bright yarns standing out, here’s an example I hope shows that:
When you first look at these two samples, you see the brighter teal/aqua first and register the pattern they make. That’s why the two samples look quite different despite both being the same pattern; one has a bright warp and the other a bright weft.
In terms of mixing colours, here’s a small example (not the best pic sorry):
Both these samples have exactly the same variegated warp, but the weft on right is much nearer the brightness of the warp, so the colours are less distinct and mix more. The dull black weft (left) causes the warp yarn to really pop and makes its colours seem stronger (might be a little lost in the photo).
Something else to note; while the grey weft is closer in brightness, it is still duller than the warp yarn and so lowers the overall brightness of the sample. If you have a lovely bright yarn and you cross it with a yarn that’s a little duller, you might be disappointed at the overall loss of brightness!
As a final note, value is the term used for brightness in colour theory. So, when people talk about a yarn’s colour having a higher/lower value than another yarn, they’re comparing how bright one yarn is to the other.