Monday, August 31, 2009

A Beautiful End To A Beautiful Day

[The view from my porch as I prepare for bed.]

I usually write my blog posts in the morning, but tonight the sky was so beautiful I had to try to share the sight. As the light dims, the crickets crescendo. It's balmy and a warm breeze has just picked up, whistling through the pines. And far in the distance, the guinea fowl are cackling.

I've been weaving a beautiful and simple-looking white cloth. Once your eye rests on it a while, though, there is a lot of subtlety to take in. The varied dot-dash patterns of grey warp threads keep the eye traveling and exploring them. Every once in a while you get a glimpse of a sketchy diamond shape.

At the very end of the day I wove three yards of a new color. It's the same white warp with a heathered silver-grey weft. Wow! The effect is so subtle, but so rich.

The scattered diamond pattern shows up much more clearly here. The few tans and greys in the warp grab your attention and combine with each other to give the rich illusion of many thread colors. I never realized just how dramatically a weft thread can highlight or subdue specific threads in the warp.

I guess it's good that I'm writing this tonight. Tomorrow I need to weave in the morning before going into town. I'm sad that I'll be done with tea and back in my cabin by the time the sun comes up, but it's nice to stay on top of the weaving despite a trip into town.

*Footnote: it wasn't sad at all! I got to drink tea with The Bright Morning Star as the sky flushed violet.

The Fruits of Labor


[Blackberries are ripe for the pickin'!]

"O, Friend! Awake and sleep no more. The night is over. Would you lose your day, also? Others, who have wakened, have received jewels." -Kabir, c.1500

Winter is coming fast. There is much to do here before it arrives. Wood needs to be put up, food needs to be stored, decks and bridges should be water sealed, and the cruft of visitors should be put away safe from the rain.

And what jewels do we receive for doing it? Well, the people on the land get to stay warm, dry and well-fed this Winter. Seems good enough to me.

...and then there's the weaving. It's chugging along. The pile of finished cloth gets bigger every day.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Seasons Are Changing

[This little maple is always the first to turn]

I love being on the land. It's hard to believe I've been gone for so long.

This time of year, the sun is moving south. This has a dramatic effect because of the lay of the land. During the Summer, the sun rises in a valley, and that means early. As it travels south, it has to climb higher up the hill every day before we see it. Astronomers may say that it's a minute later every day, but on this land it's more like two. In a week, the sun is cresting the ridge almost 15 minutes later than when I arrived.

At the same time, the moon is moving the opposite direction. Every night it's heading backwards. I arrived when it was dark, and now it is up before the sun sets. It will be full in a few days.

And weaving? It's right on track. Despite taking a few hours for accounting yesterday, I got my 11 yards done just in time for dinner.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Day-to-day on the Commune

[Morning mists are leaving the valley]

The land is very quiet right now. The caretakers and visitors are mostly away. It's a perfect time for me to set my habits for the next two months.

I go to bed with the sun and wake up at the first light. I enjoy my pot of tea as the sun crests the ridge. The color of the hot liquid is the same as the hot rays of light that stream across the meadow this time of day. It's very cold at night so the tea and sunshine are a great way to thaw out.

After tea it's time to weave. I think I've gotten up to full speed with the new flyshuttle mechanism: 11 yards a day. If I try to go any faster the shuttle starts jumping from the race.

(Incidentally, if you've ever considered buying a used AVL loom, I highly recommend getting it reconditioned from the factory. When I bought mine, they had replaced nearly every bolt and many of the incidental mechanisms. The loom I'm using now was not reconditioned and it just feels sloppy. Things wiggle and don't fit quite right. It's OK, especially since I'm mechanically-inclined enough to fix any real problems. It just makes me appreciate my own loom all the more.)

By 4:30 the sun has been on my cabin for a few hours and it's too hot to weave. Then it's time to go connect with people, do some chores, and get ready for dinner. I think today's chore will be picking as many blackberries as I can.

I am almost caught up from the production slowdown in July. Just one more productive week and I'll be there. Life up here is so relaxing that I think I can work 7 days a week until I'm caught up.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Temper, Temper...

A dobby loom is like a musical instrument. It has to be tuned. There are many points of adjustment, and each one has an effect on the weaving flow and on the cloth. Some of the effects are subtle, some are not.

The loom I'm using has been taken apart and left in storage for a while. It may have been used for another type of weaving as well. This means that I'm spending lots of time diagnosing problems and adjusting but very little time actually weaving.

I'm also getting used to a different type of flyshuttle. Mine has a complicated mechanism with ratio-increasing pulleys and a handle that pulls straight down. This loom has a side-to-side throwing mechanism. After a few hours of beginner's anxiety, I'm getting the hang of it. This style of flyshuttle is so much quieter that I can carry on a conversation while I'm weaving.

I knew this loom was going to be different from mine, and have welcomed the chance to expand my horizons. The more equipment I experience, the more I'll know what I prefer for my own studio.

It should be just one more day until the loom is in temper and ready to zip through the yardage I need to produce to pay my rent.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's Weaving

[Wild Turkey and fledglings joined me for morning tea]

The missing loom part came in the mail yesterday so today will be my first batch of weaving.

The timing is perfect. I've had a few days to connect with the people here before I launch into my own time-consuming work. Last night I hosted a little soirée where we listened to Hawaiian music and drank a homemade beverage called Awa. It's made from the roots of a jungle vine and has a sweet, earthy flavor.

Today is grocery day. When the milk arrives, I'll make our yogurt for the week.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Loom Is Up

Yesterday was beautiful. It helped me to remember why I came to this place.

I got up early to have tea with the sky and another man sat down to join me in the meadow. It turns out that he does production sewing about five miles away. If I roll out a line of towels for the holidays, he might be a fantastic contact. I'm pretty sure I don't want to do all the hemming on 500 towels by myself. I'd rather be weaving.

After tea I set to work on building the loom. It took WAY less time than the first time. I had a leisurely day of it, taking breaks to enjoy the beauty of the land.

I ate tomatoes right off the vine, drank water straight from the well, and had a lovely solar-heated shower in the hot, sunny meadow. Every time I turned around there was a friendly face ready to stop and talk for a few minutes as I moved through the space.

Once the loom was up, I realized that there's one critical piece missing. It's a hinge that suspends the beater and allows it to function. Annie is cannibalizing another loom and shipping me that part today.

This will give me a few days of down time to settle in here, catch up on office work, and devise a mouse abatement strategy for my yarn and cloth storage.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wolf Creek, I've Arrived!

[A tiny slice of the view as I drink my tea and await the sun]

The last two days have been a blur as I tied up business in San Francisco, packed up a whole weaving studio, travelled to another state, and put it all into a little cabin. Last night I was so exhausted that I couldn't be excited about my arrival. After a good night's sleep and a cup of tea, it's all starting to hit me.

This place is unbelievably beautiful. It's surrounded on all sides by fir-covered hills. When the wind blows, the firs whistle while the oaks, maples and madrones rustle.

Last night the sky was filled with stars. They actually make enought light to walk the paths, even without the moon.

Today I will build the loom. I think that with diligence I should have it done by dinner.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Setting Up My Loom For Production Weaving

Before I leave town and get away from fast internet access, I wanted to post this little YouTube video. It's a time lapse animation of three days dressing the loom for 60" cloth. Be sure to stick around 'til the very last second when you get to see the finished cloth whip through the loom and wrap around the cloth take-up beam at the back.

Preparing For The Trip

Tomorrow I leave for Wolf Creek, Oregon, to weave at a spiritual retreat center for two months. Until today I have done absolutely nothing to prepare. Well, that's not totally true because knowing my inclination to procrastinate I have kept a packing list in my pocket for the last few weeks.

When the van arrives tomorrow morning I need to have everything in the garage:
- five sectional beams
- a few hundred pounds of yarn
- a few hundred yards of cloth
- all of my personal weaving tools
- all of my sewing supplies
- everything I need to live for two months

Before I pack, though, I still need to weave 12 yards on the beam I finished sleying yesterday. The shafts and reed will get bundled up with that beam, ready to drop into the loom I'll be setting up in a cabin in the woods.

Oh, yeah, and today is the drop-dead date for office work and bookkeeping. And editing a YouTube video. You just can't post video files through glitchy dialup.

This trip is very exciting for me. I don't get out the city much. I grew up in the country and find that the constant presence of noise makes me uneasy. It's not a big deal, just a low-level, chronic psychic intrusion. In my neighborhood, the noises aren't always nice, either: car alarms, arguments, fire sirens. It'll be nice to get away.

In the woods I'll be weaving for my contract job, designing and weaving a line of products for myself, learning about yurt design and repair, and crafting a proposal for a longterm stay at Wolf Creek.

This whole trip is part of a bigger plan to find other people who are living a similar vision and create a sustainable business-based monastery together.

Related Posts:
Vision For A Crafts Monastery

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Time Lapse, Behind The Scenes

Before I set out to set up the latest beam, I realized that this project lent itself to photography. The warp is mostly white.

And then I thought, "Hey, people are always asking what a day in the studio is like." So I decided to do a time lapse movie of three days in the studio setting up the loom. Here's a snapshot from behind the camera.

Here's how it works... I set up the focus, exposure and aperture on the camera. These are set manually so that successive frames use the same settings. It looks terrible when the automatic mode changes settings between frames.

On the computer, I'm running a program called iStopMotion. It handles everything, telling the camera when to take a shot, downloading the image, scaling it for YouTube, and inserting it into the movie.

I run around and do my work, hearing the camera shutter open and close every 30 seconds. A few times a day I swap the camera's battery and recharge the dead one. In the end I'll add music and put the result up on YouTube. It should be up in a few days, so keep checking back!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Renaming the Blog

When I started this blog, I didn't give the name much thought. I had no idea it was going to become serious and a major way for me to connect with people.

But it has. I know that Google can find it based on the content, but I want it to show up when people search for my name, too. And I want the title to make it clear what flavor of weaving I do. Then people who are interested in production weaving (Stop snickering. There might be some!) will know that this is a blog they want to read.

I think it's going to be fun learning the ropes of the blogging world. Thankfully, I'm not expecting my blog to be a source of income so I don't have the pressure to succeed that comes with it. I just want to connect with other weavers by writing from the perspective of someone who is learning to do it for a living.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Boyce Weaver's Knotter, How It Works

Before I start this post, let me apologize for the number of pictures. This page is probably taking forever to load. I promise that they're necessary and interesting...

In production weaving, it's normal to settle on a threading pattern and avoid having to rethread every project. You tie one warp onto the next and pull it through the heddles and reed at once. This reduces threading errors and saves time. This warp join was tied by hand - 2400 threads, 1200 little knots.

In May, I was reading a post on Sandra Rude's blog entitled More on the Boyce Weaver's Knotter. It sounded like such a useful device that I decided to get one, especially if I could find it cheap.

I went to eBay and did a search for "weavers knotter". I set up "My eBay" to notify me of any new listings that matched. If you've never done this, it's like magic. When someone, somewhere in the world decides to sell the item on eBay, you get an email a few hours later. How cool is that!? Well, one showed up last week in Brooklyn. (The first one to appear in three months, I might add...) I was the only bidder and paid about $40 including shipping. It arrived in perfect working order, but with enough wear that I know it's seen years of good use already.

This device is left over from the days when the U.S. had a lot of textile mills. It is designed for precisely the use that I'm making of it: weavers used them to repair broken warp threads quickly and with no "tails" to snarl the weaving. If they tied whole warps together, you can bet they used it for that, too. It's pretty simple to operate: you lay two threads into it and pull the trigger. It ties them together and snips off the tails.

(Pay no attention to the one long thumb nail in these pictures. It's very convenient for someone who spends all day fiddling with thread.)

Here's a step-by-step photo essay of the workings inside the device as it goes through its motions.

Two threads ready to be tied together. They are just laid on either side of the big black guide hook on top.

Plates on either side push the red thread under the green one.

The tiny "finger hook" inserts itself between the two threads as it turns

It keeps turning, getting ready to grab the green thread

The green thread enters the fingers

This is a little tough to see. The fingers have clamped onto the green thread and now a tiny pair of scissors on the far side of the device trims the thread ends. If I wasn't holding the camera in my left hand, I would be holding those tails, ready to toss them into the trash after they're cut.

After cutting, a blunt hook comes up between the two threads to pull the red thread and tighten the knot. (At the beginning, when the red thread got pushed under the green, the pushing mechanism clamped onto both threads. This clamp is holding the thread as the hook tightens the knot.)

The hook continues its motion, pulling the knot up and clear of the mechanisms.

When the trigger is released, the whole device resets itself and the clamps release the two threads which are now tied into a sturdy knot.

The whole operation happens in about half a second. To tie the same knot by hand takes 5-10 seconds without trimming the tails (if I'm quick, that is). Multiply that by 1200 threads in a 60" warp and this little device will speed it up by over two hours. And since it's already nearly 100 years old, I think it will serve me well for many years to come.

Related Posts:
Keeping Threads Organized

Friday, August 14, 2009

Communication is Key

I'm learning - when working with clients, communication should be done early and often.

Those who have read my blog for a while will know that I quit my day job in May to weave full time. This was made possible by contract weaving for one woman up in Oregon. The biggest obstacle that we knew we faced was the distance. Planning material movement becomes a big deal when the margins are slim and the cost of travel is great.

In June, we found ourselves planning two months in advance because Annie was traveling for the month of July. This meant warping every available beam and packing a truck to haul it all down to my studio in San Francisco.

In the middle of the big project, disaster struck. One of the beams had some substantial problems. (I'll say it again, mostly to remind myself... Don't work under the influence of fever, nausea, fatigue, or anything else that prevents you from doing your best work. A few hours' time can cost you weeks later in the weaving.) It would have been no big deal except that travel made communication difficult. I decided to just slog through it, dropping my weaving rate down to an unsustainably low rate. This started a cascade of other problems so now I'm behind on my weaving and going to have a really tough time coming up with my rent.

And here's where communication comes in. When we finally talked on the phone, we each realized that the other was making assumptions. I was assuming that I had to weave a beam through to completion, even if it was causing me problems. She was assuming I would stop, go on to the next beam, and let her deal with the problems. The whole cascade of bad feelings and lost income could have been prevented by recognizing that these were assumptions and asking questions.

So, from now on, I'll be checking in with clients once a week instead of once a month.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Migrated Web Store


In preparation for my two-month trip to Oregon, I'm tying up the loose ends that will be hard to handle from the woods. Making sure I'm ready to sell the new products I'll be creating is pretty high on the list.

So, in my "spare time" over the last few days, I made some big changes to the store on my website. I had been using a Rapidweaver plugin called PayLoom. Now I'm using a standalone PHP application called Zen Cart.

When I set up the site, I decided on Rapidweaver so I could create and manage it with minimal fuss. I've been a software and web developer for years, but decided to go for simplicity when setting up my own site.

PayLoom is a fantastic add-on. It lets me create a nice-looking web store with a few clicks. It handles image sizing, drop shadows and all those niceties for me. It's also DEAD SIMPLE to use.

So why would I abandon it? Well, the whole switch started innocently enough: I wanted to auto-generate an XML file to list my products in Froogle. So I searched and found Zen Cart. I was reluctant to turn my site into a Frankenstein kludge with one major feature being coded and maintained outside of Rapidweaver. Once I got looking at the feature set of Zen Cart, however, my opinion was swayed. Here are some of the features that caught my attention:

- credit card integration (PayLoom can just use PayPal)
- featured products
- special deals
- upcoming products
- coupons and discount codes
- shopping cart storage
- customer accounts

So I dug in and installed it. It's not for the feint of heart. The software developers make it all as easy as possible, but it still involves a number of steps:
- Set up MySQL
- Install and configure Zen Cart, including payment processing, SEO link module, etc.
- Enter products from the old store
- Set up and tweak Zen Cart appearance template
- Set up Google Base
- Install Froogle Feed
- Link it all into the Rapidweaver site

Well, it's set up, tested and pretty amazing in my opinion. Go take a look...

Now comes the REAL work.... Rewriting the text with the concept of Froogle in mind. (Every product needs to be completely self-described without the context of my site.) Then, I need to reshoot all of the product photos. Oh, yeah, and design and weave new products...

Monday, August 10, 2009

AVL's Sandpaper Beam

This post is the first in a series detailing my favorite features of the AVL production dobby loom.

NOTE: I am not affiliated with AVL in any way, just a very happy customer. I bought my loom reconditioned from the factory, and it had paid for itself within 90 days.

The Sandpaper Beam

This beam doesn't seem like anything special at first glance, but it really is.

On most looms, the breast beam is a rotating rod. The finished cloth is rolled onto it until the piece is done or until the amount of cloth cramps the space needed by the weaver's knees. Then the cloth is cut off and removed. It is usually an integral part of the warp's tension. The tension has to be released in order to cut the cloth off.

The sandpaper beam changes all of this. It rotates in one direction, toward the weaver. The cloth then continues over rollers toward the take-up system at the back of the loom. There is no cloth collecting over the weaver's knees, meaning that much more cloth can be woven before it needs to be cut off. (I usually weave 20-30 yards before cutting.)

Then, when it is time to cut, the sandpaper keeps the warp under tension even while the cloth is cut. The tension on the finished cloth is completely separate from the tension on the warp threads.

In a few days, I'll write about the auto-advance system. It's only possible because of the sandpaper beam.

Like I said, this little beam may not seem like much, but it really does make a huge difference in terms of efficiency.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Next Stage

July was a difficult month. This was partly because of my San Francisco-flavored seasonal depression, brought on by cold grey weather for weeks at a time. It was also partly because of some big problems with the weaving.

Tension issues and threads trapped in the beam forced me to weave at half speed with super-heightened alertness and caused me to stop often. This is a tiring way to weave, so my days were shorter. Then, a production planning miscalculation lulled me into thinking this rate was OK and kept me from pushing harder. Oops.

The big lesson here is not to wind beams with a fever! A few hours gained can cause weeks of pain later.

It's been over three months of difficult weaving. Each beam has been harder than the last. It seems like every day I learn to identify and keep track of another thing that can go wrong. The whole time I've been telling myself "it can't stay this hard forever." Thank goodness that's actually true.

In the last two days things have completely turned around. The problems on the beam ended. All my practice with real problems means that now I'm fast and accurate when there aren't problems! I also figured out that I will be able to pay September rent on time (barely) and I got a cheap ride to Wolf Creek.

As if that weren't enough, I also got some clarification on the future of my weaving contract. I weave faster than the cloth sells, so Annie is stockpiling it for a while. She can't afford to do that forever, so by next year I need to have another gig.

She has offered to help me by working out a deal to sell my own line of products in her booth at various shows. I'll also be working in her booth sometimes, putting me in front of customers to get feedback on my designs. Sweet!

So now I have a list of goals for my time at Wolf Creek:
- find my place within the community that's on the land now
- get caught up on my weaving contract
- design and produce my own line of products for the holiday season
- work with Cobb to repair his yurt
- design a yurt of my own
- craft a proposal for a longterm Wolf Creek stay

I think that's quite enough to accomplish in just two months. I'm excited for a chance to get out of the city for a while. It's easy to arrive in the unstructured environment of a spiritual retreat center and lose track of why you're there. That's not really an option for me this time. It's going to be amazing.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The "REAL" Color Wheel

First, let me say that the quotes in the title of this piece are intentional. There is no one color system that can do everything. Over the centuries, there have been many color systems depending on the subject at hand, the available pigments, and the tastes of the people involved.

Before I launch into a tirade on the perceptions of color, I should give a little hint of my credentials. I spent years in the 3D graphics industry, writing software and studying mathematical modeling and translation of color systems. I've been formally trained in illumination engineering, learning more than sane people should know about how light is created, transported, received and observed, and how to measure each part of the process.

Here's an example of my 3D graphics playtime - a study in opalescence, the dispersion of different frequencies of light in different directions. In this piece, blue-cyan light disperses backwards and yellow-red light disperses forward through the body of a solid material. It's based on watching a candle flame interact with a glass of absinthe...

Enough on me and my hobbies, though...

In the study of light and color, the measurements and language get tangled very quickly. Are we talking about the color of light or the color of an object filtering or reflecting the light? Are we talking about actual frequencies of light and their combinations into spectra or are we talking about the single color that's percieved by the human eye? Thankfully, when most people talk about the color of an object, they are referring to the appearance of the color as seen by a human eye under white light.

In art school, we were taught a 12-color wheel. Red, Yellow, and Blue are the primary colors. Green, Orange and Purple are the secondaries. Between each of these are the tertiaries: Red-Orange, Yellow-Orange, Yellow-Green, and so on. We are taught that these lie across from each other in a color wheel and that these opposites are called complements.

This color wheel has been used to help in product and graphic design for over 100 years, but it isn't very helpful when it comes time to analyze complicated color interactions in dyeing and weaving.

Here are some typical questions that need to be answered:
- I've got a violet, but it's too bright and a little too red. What should I add to the dye to subdue the saturation and reduce the red?
- My woven piece has bright turquoise threads, but they look dark blue in the weave. What is making that happen? What can I do to make them look closer to the right color?
- My warp thread is a glaring chartreuse. What can I use in the weft to make it look more subdued and more green, but without a high-contrast look?

To answer these questions with some certainty and without a lot of testing, it it helpful to know how the human eye perceives color and how we can achieve the colors we want.

The human eye has three types of color sensing cells, called cones. Each type of cone can see only one color: Red, Green, or Blue. Color TVs, projectors, and computer monitors use this principle to display a full range of colors with only three colors of dots, one for each of the cells in our eyes. The entire color storage system of our computers is designed around representing levels of light that are perceived by human eyes.

Notice that these three colors are colors of LIGHT. The screens and projectors give off light. When they give off equal parts of red and green, our eyes see yellow. If you don't believe me, grab a magnifying glass and look at the yellow circle in the image below. The red and green dots on your screen are lit up. The blue dots are dark. See? This type of color mixing is called ADDITIVE because the red light ADDED to the green light makes our eyes see yellow.

Now, use your magnifying glass to look at the blue circle, opposite the yellow. Now you'll see that only blue dots are lit, and not the red or green. They are truly opposites in terms of how they affect the cells of our eyes.

When we are talking about colored objects it gets a little confusing. White light bounces from a white object with no change. Our eyes see white. For colored objects it's a different story. White light strikes the object. The pigment - paint, dye, ink, or whatever - filters out some of the light. In the case of yellow, it's the blue light that's getting filtered or absorbed. Blue light is not reflected so only the red and green light makes it to your eyes and you see yellow.

This type of color mixing is called SUBTRACTIVE because the pigment is REMOVING the color of light that's opposite it on the wheel.
- Cyan pigment removes red light.
- Magenta pigment removes green light.
- Yellow pigment removes blue light.

In the same way as we can represent any color of light with RGB values in the computer, we can represent any color of object with CMY values. (K, representing black, is added to make it easier on the printing hardware to render colors without saturating the paper with ink.) If you look at the dots of color on an inkjet print, you'll see that there are only the four colors of ink, CMYK.

You can do a similar exercise to magnifying the screen by printing red, green, and blue on white paper. Your magnifying glass will reveal that:
- Blue is made of cyan and magenta pigment. Cyan removes the red and magenta removes the green, leaving only blue light reflected to your eyes.
- Red is made of magenta and yellow pigment. Magenta removes the green, yellow removes the blue, leaving only red light reflected to your eyes.
- Green is made of yellow and cyan. Yellow removes the blue, cyan removes the red, leaving only green light reflected to your eyes.

Here are some nifty ways of thinking about pigments or visual mixing:
- adding pigments to an existing color will do one of two things:
- if the secondary color is less than 1/3 of the way around the circle, it will lead the main color around the wheel. (ie: Yellow will turn green with the addition of cyan.)
- if the secondary color is more than 1/3 of the way, it stops changing color and starts changing saturation. (ie: Yellow will head from green to black as the added color travels from cyan to blue.)

By following this scientific method of identifying and working with colors, it's easy to answer the questions above:
- If your violet is too bright and too red, add some cyan to pull it toward blue. Add a little bit of green, violet's opposite, to dull the saturation. (Bearing in mind that green is just yellow and cyan, so add a lot of cyan and a little yellow to achieve your final result.)
- Turquoise threads look dark when placed next to their opposite, red-orange. The redder the thread, the more likely that the turquoise will be pulled toward magenta, and therefore from true black toward blue. To make them look closer to the right color, pair them with colors that are nearer to themselves on the color wheel.
- To cure a grating chartreuse warp and trick the eye into seeing a greener cloth, use a weft thread that's just on the other side of green from chartreuse, a very green turquoise. This will work until you hit cyan. If you pass it, you are now heading toward yellow's opposite. Instead of changing just the hue, you will also be changing the saturation. The colors will look muddier and muddier until you get to the point that is opposite the chartreuse: dark purple.

Now, back to the art-school color wheel...

By calling red, yellow and blue our primaries, we are doing two major things - compressing the range of blue-green and extending the range of yellow-red. Just look at how many similar oranges there are and how few turquoises. We're also confusing light and pigment. Mixing pigments in the color of light leads to the phenomenon that we're all familiar with: grey, muddy colors. Remember in art class when your red and blue turned grey instead of purple? Now you know why it happened. We should have had cyan and magenta paint all along.

The 12-color wheel isn't "wrong", it's just not technically consistent in a way that leads to clear and simple decision-making.

For an exciting look at the development of color systems, including a few glimpses at how old this particular one is, spend some time reading The Creation of Color in Eighteenth Century Europe by Sarah Lowengard. In the chapter entitled Words for Color, you'll see a few examples of early color systems that have much in common with the art school 12-point color wheel still used today. And these studies are over 200 years old.