Color Gradation with Blended Wefts
Color Gradation with Blended Wefts
Images and Text by Natalie Novak
A color gradation is a slow transition from one color or shade to another. Even if you already have ten versions of a color in your yarn stash, using blended wefts will give you twice as many steps in your gradation making the transition smoother and more subtle. Blending wefts is a lot like mixing different colors of paint to achieve the inbetween tones you might not have at the ready. This technique is great for shading an area of your tapestry or anywhere you want a softer edge between colors or shapes.
For this tutorial I’m using a mix of Harrisville Highland and Weaving Southwest’s tapestry yarn, but any yarn will work. If you use singles I recommend using thinner yarns that you can twist together, and if you use plied yarns make sure they’re easy to split apart to mix with other colors and yarns. By all means, experiment with whatever you’ve got handy!
And we’re off…
In my example weaving I’ll be transitioning from dark red to light pink using three colors of yarn and two blends of those colors for a grand total of five steps in the gradation. I’ve started off by weaving a few solid stripes so we can see the contrast later. The last stripe I’ve woven is the first color I’m using in my gradation. When you’ve woven as much of the first color as you want just end your current weft wherever you like, be it an edge or right in the middle. If you’re using single ply yarn, weave your entire tapestry using two singles twisted together if you want to keep an even texture and thickness throughout.
Making the First Blend
The next thing to do is blend your wefts. You’ll want two colors to mix together: the color you’ve just left off with and the next color in your gradation.
Since I’m using a plied yarn, I need to split the ply before blending it with my next color so I don’t end up with a bulkier fiber during the transition. If you’re using single ply yarn you can just twist two of those together.
Twisting the two strands together will help your blended wefts “blend in” with the rest of your tapestry.
Weaving with the First Blend
Start your blended weft wherever you left off with your first color. The is start of your color gradation!
Weaving the Second Solid Color
When you’ve woven as much as want of your first blend, break off the weft and start a section of your second solid color. My first color is dark red, my first blend is dark red and red, so my second color is red. It’s all starting to make sense right?
Making and Weaving the Second Blended Color
I’ve woven all of the solid red I want so it’s time to move on to my next blend, in this case it’s red and pink.
Remember to twist your wefts together to help create a smooth transition.
Start your blended wefts wherever you left off with your last solid color.
The Last Solid Color
When you’ve finished your second blend it’s time to put in the next, and in this case, last solid color.
The Finished Sampler
In the image below you can really see the difference in gradations between the solid stripes and the areas with blended weft transitions. Play around with how wide you make solid colors and blended areas to see what sort of effects you can achieve.
In this example I wove a simple gradation of stripes using six solid colors from white to grey to blue.
The image below shows what this gradation looks like when I use blended wefts to transition from one color to the next. From the six original colors I’ve made five weft blends giving me a total of eleven steps in the gradation and a much smoother transition.
Side by side you can really see the difference.
This is just the beginning of what you can do with blended wefts. Try using three or four strands for an even more gradual gradation or maybe mix together some colors that you think clash, just to see what happens. Blended weft gradations are also great for making shadows, skies, sunsets and anything else that needs a little finessing. By using this technique you essentially double your color options without having to buy any more yarn, and who doesn’t want more yarn?
Thanks for reading and have fun on your next weaving adventure!