How Do I Pick Color?

I think the question I’m asked the most is how I come up with some of my color combos for my knits. And related to that, over the weekend someone asked me how I combine different yarns from different companies for my projects. I thought I’d answer both of those things for people who might be wondering the same thing.

New yarn from Onyx Fiber Arts in Burst I can’t wait to knit with.

I have always loved color and patterns, I think I get that from my Mom. As I’ve gotten older my color and pattern choices have gotten a bit bolder. I’ve found that when I wear color I feel better, I’m happier. when I wear neutrals or a lot of black I just feel blah. I wore a predominantly black outfit to work a few years ago and was asked so many times what was wrong because apparently I never wear black. LOL So when it comes to picking yarn, I like to go vibrant. I was thinking of color this weekend because the Paleta sweater has been on my brain.

Image via Ravelry

This sweater is a mix of colorwork done with dk weight yarn and then stripes of solid color are done with mohair yarn so it has sheer panels. The first time I saw this I was intrigued and it just keeps coming back to me and I feel like it will get made this summer. So I decided to go into my stash and look up color combos for whenever I’m ready to make this one for myself. I initially came up with these two color combos:

Color Palettes for Paleta

Left is some of the leftover Berroco DK in a rich pumpkin color from my Pippi sweater, middle is some mohair I picked up from Kim Dyes Yarn and right is a really rich olive green Miss Babs Yowza I bought at last year’s Maryland Sheep and Wool festival. This palette would be very soft and autumnal but doesn’t really have the punch I want. So then I pulled this combo out of my stash:

Color Palettes for Paleta

Left another leftover of Berroco DK in a dark denim from my husband’s colorblocked sweater, an insanely bright skein of Fly from Hedgehog Fibres and a gorgeously vivid sapphire blue skein of mohair from Periwinkle Sheep. I liked this and it was close but wasn’t 100% there…and then a few hours later I made this change:

Color Palettes for Paleta

I added in this aloe green from House of a la Mode yarns and I knew this was the punchy fun color combo I’d want for my Paleta sweater. I play around and pull skeins together until I smile. Until the color combo makes me say YES I can’t wait to make this. Now when it comes to mixing yarns from different brands, I look at how close the textures and feel of the yarn match. It isn’t often that I can’t mix a same weight yarn with another but this pullover is also marrying dk weight and lace weight in a way I hadn’t thought of – so why not play? And if you aren’t sure about your choice just swatch it. See if it works. Some sweaters are all one brand of the same yarn but sometimes they’re not and it’s just about whether or not I want to try mixing things up. So how do you pick your color combos for projects?

12 Replies to “How Do I Pick Color?”

  1. I love this sweater! I too love color. I can’t inagine a wardrobe of grey and black. I may go with what the designer picks for colors and other times I start with one color I love and pick a pallette to suit that color.

    Love your color choices.

  2. I always try to go to my stash for yarn for larger projects and never have enough! NEVER. Maybe that means I should just buy more yarn, ALL the time. My husband would love that.

    1. thanks for the inspiration. this sweater makes me want to go stash diving!. does look like a d sweater.

  3. If you were to combine these different weight yarns in a sweater not specifically designed for doing that, what adjustments would you need to make? Would you have to change needle sizes with each yarn change, or just continue one needle size the entire way?
    I LOVE your colors and totally agree that wearing color affects mood!

    1. Usually I am pairing yarns that have the same thickness/weight and they feel the same so I wouldn’t need to change my needle. But honestly, swatching is the way to go. You can wash it the way you would after you finish and see how it looks and feels.

  4. You always pick colors that look great on you! When you mix yarns, don’t you ever worry about how they will wash up together? Wool vs. a mostly acrylic/wool blend? The thought of spending all that time knitting, then having the yarns shrink differently really scares me, so I tend to use the same yarns in a color project. My favorite part of knitting is matching yarn and patterns!

    1. One way to ease your mind is to wash your swatch. You can also make sure that colors won’t bleed. Swatching a lot has definitely made me a bolder knitter. Dana’s influence has helped with that too:)
      Also, gently hand washing rarely causes problems.

    2. My Brioheme sweater is a mix of an acrylic yarn and a superwash, they are fine paired together. It’s all about swatching to see how it feels together before you start the project.

  5. What fun colors! I too usually factor in ‘what sparks joy’ and makes me want to cast on, and thinking about what kinds of colors I’m likely to wear. I mix and match yarns all the time; paying attention to fiber blends and texture as well as being aware that yarns with a label like ‘fingering’ can be quite different in gauge means a little more work, but some fun results!

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