This is a post that had been brewing for some time now, revisited after I started weaving, and now with two recent posts I read over the week – an anecdote about co-workers who didn’t know the primary and secondary colors on a color wheel, and an article about how to choose colors for a project.
Some time ago, I was asked how I came up with my color combinations, since they had difficulties or were challenged when choosing colors for their projects. That got me to thinking about how I’ve used color in my projects. I had taken art classes through the school years, and fiddled around with painting and drawing after – maybe that is why I don’t think much about color theories, it just sort of comes naturally when going through the stash or walking down the yarn aisle in a store. Of course there’s a lot of the natural preferences that come with it – there are some color combinations which are not pleasing to my eye (blue and brown comes to mind). And then of course, the title of this blog is what I would like to be doing with the yarn.
For my projects, the color progression wasn’t so much as the choice of color combinations, but more of solids to ombre to variegated. For a while, I was only working with solid colors – primary colors mixed up with secondary colors. I would then make the pattern stand out a little more by using combinations different from those suggested in the pattern. Why? Because that’s what I had in my stash, and I didn’t want to go out and buy more yarn – yes, I know, that was the perfect excuse to add to the stash lol – but I had to follow my budget. Here’s my earlier projects – a granny ripple and scrap blanket turned tapestry blanket, using solid colors.
While I still buy and use solid colors, more and more I find myself leaning towards the variegated and self-striping – the yarn companies have gotten so much better, coming out with bright, vibrant beautiful color mixes. They’re also less work for me – less fastening off and reattaching – and beautiful patterns come out of the self-striping yarn. And I think the variegated yarn works better with my brain – although the project is beautiful when done, working with solid colors bores me after a while, and I start looking for something else to do – probably another reason why I have several WIPs lying around, and about half of them are solid color projects.
For those times when I need to come up with color combinations, here’s what I’ve devised – my own DIY color wheel. Not in the traditional sense, and I’m sure there’s something like this already out there put out by the yarn companies. My boys worked on this – whenever we were at one of the home improvement stores, we would stop by the paint department, and go to the wall of sample paint cards and take one each of the color cards. (shsshhh) These ones were perfect – individual color cards, with a hole punched in already. They then sorted it according to the codes, and grouped it together. It’s not quite in the order of the color wheel, but that doesn’t bother me. It’s also missing a few shades, but we can always fill that in later.
And when I’m looking for a color combination, this is what I do – just pull out the color cards and place them next to each other. I now have a visual of what I’m thinking of. And even though there may not be this exact shade available in yarn, there is enough of a selection out there these days that I can come pretty close to what I have in mind.
Hmmm .. I like this combination … wonder if there’s anything in the stash like this?
How do you decide on your colors?