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How to chose colours for your projects.

July 20, 2012

I really like to work with colour. It impresses me how one colour of yarn can be a certain way, bold, demure, boring, witholding, and yet when you pair it with something else, that all changes. Recently, Abi told you how the semi solid colourway that she used in her Clockwork toned down the wilder handpaint. In her case, the semi solid was basically a brother to the handpaint, they had been created to go together, and so this effect was rather a given. I personally don’t like to combine colourways that “go together” in a collection, for example club colourways that are listed together for a given month. The exception to this is from Miss Katie’s Yarn Love sock club. Katie thinks like I do, and seems to prefer a contrasting yarn to a complimentary one. I am much more likely to use both colourways from the same month together from Katie’s club than from other clubs, because of this.

I recently completed an Aero shawl, using several bright colours. I haven’t managed to get any modeled pictures yet, but you can see here how the colours work together. I chose the butterscotch-y colour as the main one because I had a lot of it. I also had a lot of the brown, but thought it would be too dark and less playful. The other colours really work with the bright background because they are strong on their own. Traditionally, I don’t think that the blues are what would have been paired with the butterscotch and brown shades, and that is why I like them. A nice lime green would have worked, but would have rendered the whole shawl too cool in appearance I think.

I really like matching colour names to pattern or even recipient names. I once knit a purple cowl for a wonderful woman that I really don’t know that well, even though I don’t love purple, because both the colourway and the woman are named Evangeline.

I often chose yarn for the colourway name as much as for the actual colour. To me the experience of knitting has to be mental and emotional as well as physical, and if the colour combination makes me feel good, or makes me think, I go for it. I have been told that I am good at pairing up unexpected shades, but really I think that I just am open to surprises.

So go ahead, throw all your yarn in a big pile, and start pulling out skeins at random. Line them up as they come out of the pile, you may be surprised at what works together.



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