Depth of Shade: Spin Off Spring 2024

Our annual deep dive into color explores blending, plying, dyeing, and more.

Kate Larson Feb 26, 2024 - 3 min read

Depth of Shade: Spin Off Spring 2024 Primary Image

Mary Berry uses acid dyes to explore saturation and value, as well as the differences between the two. Photos by Matt Graves

“Depth of shade” is a color theory term that I’ve always found to be as poetic as it is technical. It’s often discussed as DOS and applied to specific measurements of dye, or it might be used more casually as we try to express an intuitive perception of color. Depth of shade involves hue families, saturation, and value—all evocative ideas for scientist and poet alike.

I know analytical spinners who don’t consider themselves to be creative, and I know artistic spinners who don’t feel they can incorporate math and measurements into their fiber work. But handspinning is always a mix of these elements, and in learning from one another, we can explore fibers close to home and far afield, into the future and deep into the past. We can create beautiful things individually and as a community.

In this Spring color issue, natural dyer Jane Woodhouse looks back to the work of Fred Gerber and uses his approach to create a huge palette of natural color (see her cover photo at the bottom!). Even using her typical dyestuffs, she found some surprises! Mary Berry uses acid dyes to explore saturation, value, and the difference between the two (photo at top). Her article is a must read if you want to develop more control over color.

Kate knits a colorful slipper sock using a pattern by Irene Waggener based on a traditional Moroccan sock construction that's knit-to-fit.

While living in Morocco, author Irene Waggener learned a traditional sock construction that is knit-to-fit. That’s right—no gauge measurements! She added a simple colorwork motif to create the perfect slipper sock for handspun leftovers. Louie García shares some of the cotton and color histories that connect his current textile work with his Pueblo community and traditions. Hear from Karida Collins of Neighborhood Fiber Co. about finding color inspo in her cityscape, see Riley Kleve’s blending ratio results, and so much more!

The cover features a natural palette of cochineal, madder, fustic, weld, and logwood dyed by Jane Woodhouse. See her article on page 24.

Wishing you peace and perfectly filled bobbins,

Ready to explore this issue? Get your copy of Spin Off Spring 2024 by subscribing today or purchasing this issue from our online shop.

Kate Larson, editor of Spin Off, teaches handspinning around the country and spends as many hours as life allows in the barn with her beloved flock of Border Leicesters.