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 Choosing colors that work together
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Erinplus3
Chatty Knitter

USA
189 Posts

Posted - 08/17/2005 :  4:47:18 PM  Show Profile Send Erinplus3 a Private Message
Any tips on picking colors that work well together in a sweater? I always get so nervous that it's going to look good when I'm done. Are there different rules for a fair isle pattern vs. stripes?

terivan
Chatty Knitter

Australia
240 Posts

Posted - 08/17/2005 :  6:05:03 PM  Show Profile Send terivan a Private Message
I suggest you read Color Works - Deb Metz, or The Ar of Fair Isle Knitting - Feitelson. However, I'm still a bit dubious about selecting colours as I have trouble imagining how they will look. I guess the only answer is to select and swatch, maybe many times. The Sweater Workshop - Fee, also has a bit about stripes.

Terry
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KnittyGrittyGal
Chatty Knitter

USA
235 Posts

Posted - 08/17/2005 :  6:38:18 PM  Show Profile  Visit KnittyGrittyGal's Homepage Send KnittyGrittyGal a Private Message
You could try using a color wheel.
Do a google search on how to use one and I'm sure you'll find some good info.
I used to be terrible at choosing colors. I wouldn't even attempt it....I'd just make the item in the identical yarn color that the pattern used.
Then I learned a little about color using the color wheel and now I have the guts to go it alone most of the time.


KnittyGrittyGal
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Gelliott
Seriously Hooked

USA
911 Posts

Posted - 08/17/2005 :  9:40:26 PM  Show Profile Send Gelliott a Private Message
If I am making up my own color combination, I draw color picture of the pattern, using colored pencils or watercolors. I either chart the fair isle design on graph paper, coloring all the squares (useful later to knit from) or draw the garment with the colored stripes, borders, or whatever. I'm not much of an artist, but I'm able to get a good feel for the colors this way.

Gelliott
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becka always
Permanent Resident

USA
1959 Posts

Posted - 08/17/2005 :  9:47:27 PM  Show Profile  Visit becka always's Homepage Send becka always a Private Message
I often use my own combinations and am now expecting a color wheel any time from https://colwheel.securesites.com/mivastore/merchant.mv?Session_ID=42FF619C0003C24700003F2B00000000& so that I can play with some more color...hopefully the color in the 'sample' box of 'palette' fingering wt yarn from knitpicks

Addicted to the Knit
Becka Always
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lornaknits
New Pal

0 Posts

Posted - 08/17/2005 :  10:24:41 PM  Show Profile Send lornaknits a Private Message
I like to recommend looking at comfortable things that have color combinations that please you. If you see a stack of towels at Mervyns that look pretty together, think about the colors and use them in your next striped or fairisle design. Or if you have a skein of hand-dyed yarn that you love, analyze the colors that are in it and use the same solid colors together--afterall, you know that you like them! Lorna (with former color experience)
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Momma78239
Permanent Resident

USA
4859 Posts

Posted - 08/17/2005 :  10:40:28 PM  Show Profile  Visit Momma78239's Homepage  Send Momma78239 a Yahoo! Message Send Momma78239 a Private Message
Also, go look at some of the books on personal color. Color Me Beautiful was popular 20 years ago, and while the styles in the book are outdated, the color advice is still pretty good. And there are other, newer ones nowadays, too.

-Wendy
And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen. Exodus 35:25
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fmarrs
Guardian angel

USA
9776 Posts

Posted - 08/18/2005 :  01:29:03 AM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message
Most people have an inherent instinct with color, but there are the few who lack confidence and a few who are best described as having a "garish" taste. You can't go wrong if you use nature as a guideline. Think of spring buds and flowers and all the colors of autumn, the mountains, the sea. Even a pebble can be used as inspiration. Just wet it down so the colors show. When I am selecting colors, I stack up the skeins and look at the ends of the stack where all the colors show. You can use a color wheel and a more scientific method. There are lots and lots of books on the subject. I also quilt and find that quilting books on color coordination are ideal. After all, when they make quilts, quilters combine lots of colors.

fran
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Jane
SustaYning Member

USA
4399 Posts

Posted - 08/18/2005 :  03:03:30 AM  Show Profile  Visit Jane's Homepage Send Jane a Private Message
All the suggestions posted so far are excellent, and all I can add is that it's also a matter of experience, so don't be intimidated by the idea of color. The more you "notice" color in the world around you, the less intimidating choosing colors will be. Knowing technical color terms (like primary, secondary, tertiary, etc.) isn't as important as first using the color wheel to see how it applies to other things, and then to your knitting. It's a whole new world...

Jane

Blog-like thing: not plain jane
Photos:jane's pages
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linda@pinestarstudio.com
New Pal

0 Posts

Posted - 08/18/2005 :  06:08:14 AM  Show Profile Send linda@pinestarstudio.com a Private Message
Another way to put colors together is to pick up paint chips at a paint or hardware store. There are lights and darks, all variations there at your fingertips. Match chips to yarn you have or purchase yarn after you have made your choices. Laying these chips out in front of you allows you to shift and sort, to see how they look against each other, to show larger or smaller amounts soyou can decide on what proportions you might use those colors.

There are so many from which to choose and they are small enough to carry with you to the yarn shop.

Hope some of you find this a useful alternative to the color wheel. A wheel is a great tool but does not really allow you to see the colors separate from the others.

Pooduck1
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fibercrone
New Pal

USA
2 Posts

Posted - 08/18/2005 :  06:51:05 AM  Show Profile Send fibercrone a Private Message
You can look around for pictures on the internet, in magazines, books, or pick a garment in your wardrobe, anything that contains colors you think work well together and start with that. Alternately, look for a variegated yarn in a colorway you like and use it, not to knit with, but for choosing solid colors.
If you are only choosing two or three colors try taking a short length of yarn from each ball and twist the colors around each other, like a candy cane stripe. Another thing I find helpful is to place the actual yarn in the colors I am considering in a group and view them from a distance, adding, subtracting, rearranging as desired. An artist's trick for looking at value (darkness versus lightness of a color) and color balance is to squint your eyes.
The color wheel is an excellent place to start as long as you are sensitive to things like a red that leans towards blue versus a red that leans toward orange. Google "simultaneous contrast" to round out your use of the color wheel. Most color wheels come with information about it but there are a lot of interactive color sites on the web that are very good as showing how colors and values interact. One last idea is to use your computer's paint/draw program to play with color, or get your self a huge box of crayons and play with trusting your instincts about what colors go together.
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kbshee
Permanent Resident

USA
4170 Posts

Posted - 08/18/2005 :  06:56:42 AM  Show Profile Send kbshee a Private Message
When I quilted, I would pick a bunch of fabrics, put them next to eachother, then step back and squint and see if the result was pleasing. You might give that a try. There's always *my* favorite way: asking everyone in the shop if the colors 'go'.

kim in oregon
http://kbshee.blogspot.com
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amg9@duke.edu
New Pal

2 Posts

Posted - 08/18/2005 :  06:59:47 AM  Show Profile  Visit amg9@duke.edu's Homepage  Send amg9@duke.edu a Yahoo! Message Send amg9@duke.edu a Private Message
I have one other small book suggestion that is sold with or without a color wheel. Nancy Shroyer puts out a very nice color choosing book for Fair Isle and other fiber arts, entitled "How to Select Color Palettes for Knitting and other Fiber Arts". You can order it on her website: http://www.nancysknitknacks.com/books_&_patterns.htm. It was reviewed in Spin Off (Summer 2003).

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achrisvet
Permanent Resident

USA
5986 Posts

Posted - 08/18/2005 :  07:23:37 AM  Show Profile Send achrisvet a Private Message
I happened to come across this today:

http://www.knittinguniverse.com/xrx/webfeatures/paintbox/86.html

You click on the rainbow on the color closest to your yarn color then click one of the outlines in the diagram above. Keep adding colors so you can see how they look next to each other.

Anita
My completed projects
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levis_mama
Chatty Knitter

USA
188 Posts

Posted - 08/18/2005 :  07:27:48 AM  Show Profile  Visit levis_mama's Homepage Send levis_mama a Private Message
I'm a gut person when it comes to color, but in preparing for a class on making a shawl I designed, I had to figure out how to explain to others what I do. I still have a lot to learn, but I was able to explain it to my students.

Deb Menz's Colorworks is an invaluable tool. Ms. Menz explains color theory and its application for several fiber related mediums - in easy to understand terms despite the fact that it reads a little like a textbook. Lots and lots of pictures are used to show what she's explaining. She has a colorwheel and related tools for combining colors in the back of the book. This is the book I recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about color.

My LYS has the book by Nancy Schroyer. It's good, but I didn't think it was as thorough as Colorworks. I like how the colorwheel is separate from the book rather than the punchout version in Colorworks.

StephanieR
Somebody get me something deep-fried and smothered in chocolate! --Fairy Godmother

http://stitchandkvetch.blogspot.com
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knittingbaglady
Permanent Resident

USA
1207 Posts

Posted - 08/18/2005 :  08:01:56 AM  Show Profile Send knittingbaglady a Private Message
I usually try to keep the same tones...warm colors, cool colors. I think if you like it, be daring.

Interesting also are the traditional colors that certain cultures work with.
Years ago, I knit my first (and last) Norwegian sweater. The woman who sold me the yarn was appauled at my color choices. I used off white, medium blue, teal and purple.
She thought pure white was the way to go, not to mentional more traditional colors.
I didn't listen to her, and am glad.
So, if you're uncertain...look to traditionl color patterns.

Martha.

http://www.greenmountainknittingbags.com/

http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQfgtpZ1QQfrppZ50QQsassZknittingbaglady
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RoseByAny
Permanent Resident

USA
12598 Posts

Posted - 08/18/2005 :  08:07:07 AM  Show Profile  Visit RoseByAny's Homepage Send RoseByAny a Private Message
We talked about color at the KR retreat a few years ago, and I was surprised by how many people have trouble with this!

Some of the easiest, most "scientific" (as in non-"gut reaction") ways of finding colors involved using a color wheel. Using that, you can play with sections of the wheel to find colors, hues and play with combinations and contrasts. A great book for explaining this (even if you aren't a spinner) is Deb Menz's Color In Spinning.

"Choose your friends by their character and your socks by their color. Choosing your socks by their character makes no sense, and choosing your friends by their color is unthinkable."
http://RoseByAny.BlogSpot.Com
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KnittingBuddy
New Pal

15 Posts

Posted - 08/18/2005 :  08:54:06 AM  Show Profile Send KnittingBuddy a Private Message
A few years ago, my knitting club did a fun color-choosing experiment. We spread a large white sheet on the floor, and put our stash colors on the sheet. We all sat on the floor and grouped colors that seemed right together. Each person used a different grouping criteria. I tend to group shades of the same color. Another person created a color wheel. Another woman stuck with "warm colors" from "Color Me Beautiful". One woman was more bold and chose contrasting colors for stripes. It helped to see what other people did, and to try different combinations to get other people's reactions. We each ended up with a color combination that we all critiqued by putting the yarns up close to our faces to see if the combination worked well with our skin tone and hair color (we were making fair isle sweaters). I came away with a different color combination that I had never tried, and that worked really well.

There's a show on HGTV called "Get Color" that uses a good technique. The host of the show creates a personalized color wheel, based on your favorite things, to redecorate a room. For example, people who like going to the beach create a personalized color wheel with little boxes of sand, blue shells, brown shells, seaweed, yellow silk petals to represent the sun, coral, and blue glass to represent the water. Then, they pick a dominant color (in this case, for the walls of a room), pick a secondary important color, and one or 2 accent colors. It's a great way to combine colors that naturally occur in nature to create an environment or mood. I think it would work well with fair isle, an afghan, or a multicolor garment, too. Got to www.hgtv.com to find out when it's on in your area.
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Momma78239
Permanent Resident

USA
4859 Posts

Posted - 08/18/2005 :  10:45:07 AM  Show Profile  Visit Momma78239's Homepage  Send Momma78239 a Yahoo! Message Send Momma78239 a Private Message
Another very important issue when it comes to color is that it's personal!

What is dull and boring to one person is calming and gentle to another.

What is garish to one person is colorful and exciting to another.

The MOST important thing about color choices is that the person who will wear/use the finished product is happy with it!

Sure, some color schemes are more jarring than others, but "jarring" is sometimes exactly the effect the designer is going for. My husband loves the Grateful Dead, and his shirt of choice is a VERY colorful and attention-getting tie-dye t-shirt - the brighter and more varied the colors the better! Garish, indeed - but that's what makes him happy!

My mother, on the other hand, loves muted colors - mauve, taupe, moss, faded indigo. They make her feel pretty and feminine. So, fore her, I usually go for a refined color scheme.

Choose colors, mass them together, and see if the overall effect is what you like. Use paintings, photos, and nature for guides, if you like, but whatever you do, don't worry! If you truly look at nature, you'll see that god puts together some of the oddest combinations, and yet they work!

-Wendy
And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen. Exodus 35:25
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AllisonV
Chatty Knitter

246 Posts

Posted - 08/18/2005 :  11:17:28 AM  Show Profile  Visit AllisonV's Homepage Send AllisonV a Private Message
I tend to pick colors that you wouldn't traditionally see together. I think I just like creating new looks. But if I'm ever unsure of something, whether it be knitting related or not, I check with my girls. Good girlfriends will always be honest, and it hurts less hearing that your yarn choices look horrific from someone you adore.
"If you can't make it good, make it BIG; If you can't make it big, make it RED," is a often used (art) term in my house. It might apply to knitting as well as art...

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. -Confucius
Blog: www.simplysockyarn.typepad.com
Website: www.simplysockyarn.com
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lamchop04@go.com


Posts

Posted - 08/18/2005 :  1:15:22 PM  Show Profile Send lamchop04@go.com a Private Message


Try the colors you see in nature. It always works for me. for instance, look at the colors inside a Zinnia, or the colors of the fushia with its stamens.

Perhaps the colors in a stormy sky, purples and dark blues.

Perhaps sea shells. Pinks, yellows, oranges.

Perhaps fall leaves. Perhaps a goldfinch.

Perhaps those weeds that you like to get rid of? Look closely at its colors.

It works in nature and will work for you!
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