The Process: Color Pairings

One of the biggest things people ask me is how I come up with my color combos. I kept saying I’d discuss it in a blog post but I honestly haven’t found the time to sit down and tape one yet! So I’m going to talk a little bit about my process now. I love all color and because I tend to like such simple shapes in knitwear I think they can handle vibrant batches of color. I saved up some money for the Fibre Space Miss Babs Trunk Show the other weekend because I love her yarn and colors and how big the skeins of Yowza are (560 yards!!) when knitting a sweater.
I came home with these four colors:

  • Fig (top left)
  • Be Witching (top right)
  • Perfectly Wreckless (bottom left)
  • McHale (bottom right)

But while I was there I was already thinking of color pairings. My first color combo mixes Fig and Bewitching with a skein of Neighborhood Fiber Co Studio Worsted in Easterwood ( a dark teal and blue shade that I originally picked up thinking it would pair with my Mint Madness cardigan).
Easterwood picks up the other colors running through Bewitching and Fig is a shade within Bewitching too. The colors aren’t necessarily perfect matches but they blend. And that’s what you want. It’s an easy trick of the eye. My second color pairing was more vibrant.
I am mixing Perfectly Wreckless with the vibrant blue McHale – even though there isn’t any blue in the wilder skein. Why? Because I’m using that blue as a neutral base and it pulls on the undertones of the pink and green in the more vibrant color. And I’ve got a bit of Floyd leftover from another project and the pinks match so that might become ribbing!
Once I have a color combination in my head I like to draw it out (even more so now that my husband bought me an iPad Pro for my birthday with an Apple Pencil!). I play around with color combos, consider yardage and just sketch out what I could make. This is how my mind works. I see color and I just want to put together as many great color combos as I can. How do you guys figure out color combinations?

7 Replies to “The Process: Color Pairings”

  1. thanks for the great tips. I always love your color… sometimes I see something, trees or flowers or even furniture and it gives me color ideas or as usual, I just throw a few different colors on my bed and see what that creates! lol that is always an interesting combo!

  2. I have done some web design and a little bit of graphic design (non-professionally), so I have sought to learn color theory. Knittng, though, brings another factor into play, what the yarn will look like knitted up. A year ago I made a summer shawl using Cobasi’s Hikoo. I bought gray, aqua, lime green and orange. In the store, side by side as skeins, I loved ’em. It was a step out for me color scheme-wise. But knitted up… the orange practically leaps out of the shawl. It looks sort of radioactive. I guess my most common “resource” in figuring out color combos is hands-on/trial and error. I’m more than halfway along with a Scarfy Thing, and I’m hapoy with the colora, and only had to reknit a section (due to a color error heh) once, so I’m learning! I recently found your blog and like it in part because you talk about color so much. Thanks!

  3. I am still terrified when I have to add a new skein, and colour changes seem even more scary to me so I avoid them but I’d love to start working with colours too and you are a great inspiration!
    I also have to say that I opened the Miss Babz link and if not for the international shipping prices, I’d probably clear out half of their stash 😉

    1. Even with domestic shipping I have to restrain myself from clearing out their inventory. I love Miss Babs and met her at Maryland Sheep and Wool and she’s just the nicest.

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