So I finally wound up my yarn and got swatching for my second Knittin' Little Summer KAL piece, Locksley. But then I realized, was anyone else having a difficult time choosing yarn colors for color work? I spent a lot of time thinking and rethinking before I settled on these and while I'm happy now, it definitely took some time.
When Emily and I were bouncing ideas back and forth for the sample, I had a color story to work with. I normally use these for each collection, to give the collection a kind of mood and to make sure I am choosing colors within that mood when picking yarn. One of the fantastic things about Knit Picks (this piece uses Swish Worsted) is that when viewing their colors, you can open more than one for a closer look and compare them side by side.
But what if you can't? Here are some tips I use when picking out more than two colors for colorwork projects.
Use a color wheel
Quick color theory lesson: the easiest way to pick 3 colors for color work is to choose 2 colors that are across (complimentary) from each other on the color wheel. Then, add a neutral. Boom. This is my favorite (and I think simplest) way to choose colors!
If you aren't looking to use neutrals, you can break the color wheel into thirds and choose a color from each third that is equidistance from the next (this is called triadic colors). So, using the color wheel above, the aqua, bright purple, and yellow are triadic colors. Maybe the Aqua as a MC, then the other two as CC? Boom again.
What I like best about looking at a color wheel is being able to see how the colors will look when close together without having to have yarn in hand.
Arrange then rearrange
Ok, you've picked your three colors but aren't sure which you want to use as the main color. Spend some time arranging and rearranging the yarn to get an idea of which will work best.
I initially thought I wanted to use the the green as the MC (because I have a lot of it) but once I spent some time setting the skeins together, I realized the dark grey and green would muddy together. When I swatched, I only used two colors because I didn't want to hassle with the third and guess what? The grey and green muddy when right next to each other.
So arrange those skeins, then set them out in an area of your home that is well traveled. Take a day or two to walk by, look at them, then decide if you like the combo or arrangement.
Use a color story
If you're still having a difficult time, or you feel that you can't trust your own eye to pick colors that look amazing together, try using a color story. Design Seeds is a great site to use for this. You can search by color or just scroll through their blog and be inspired!
From one palette you can easily find one color that will work great as a backdrop for two of the other colors. I would love to see that coral and slate against the ice blue. So pretty!
Are you knitting a Locksley? We'd love to see it! Come join the KAL in our Ravelry group or share your photos on Instagram (#knittinlittleKAL to be eligible for prizes!).
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