Olive Color

Recently, my daughter informed me that she loves olive. This was a shift from the blues. With her new favorite color being olive, I thought I should come up with a dye recipe for olive. The main challenge was that I was not sure of what she meant by "olive." I tried to think of the olive fruit. I thought of times I’d eaten olive. I remember it being quite dark, almost black. The next thing I did was search on the Internet for olive color. I discovered that olive had many shades.

Tones of olive color (Wikipedia)

My question remained: when one says "olive," what color does it evoke in the mind? It was clear that when my daughter said she loved olive, she had something particular in mind, but my research into the color did not place a finger on what is definitely known as olive. So, I tried looking for word definitions of olive. Wikipedia describes olive as "a dark yellowish-green color, like that of unripe or green olives."

I remembered from my color theory class that I could make olive by mixing yellow and black. So, I decided to dye some yarn with a mixture of yellow and black dyes. I made two dye samples. For the first dye sample, I mixed Lanaset Yellow 2R, which is a restrained yellow with a red base, with black. For the second dye sample, I mixed Lanaset Yellow 4GN, which is a bright yellow with a green base, with black. The samples looked quite different, with one tending brown and the other tending green. I then took photos of the dyed samples and sent them to my daughter with the question, “Which of these is olive?” She said, “Left.” Ah! I thought. My next thought was, but why? How did she go from ice blue/navy to olive/olivetone?

Swatches made from the dyed samples