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.
Colors
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).
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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.
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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!
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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?

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FO: Freestyle Fade

I have to start this post off by saying, despite it being fall it was 86 degrees in the late afternoon when I finally took photos of this sweater. I waited forever because it was just too hot to put on a sweater. Global warming, ya’ll. But I braved the warmth and put on sweater weather clothes to show you my latest FO.
Faded freestyle
On Ravelry I’ve got this listed as my Neutral to Neon Raglan but in reality I’ve been calling it my Faded Freestyle sweater. This really was a make it up as I go along sweater to just see what I felt like it should become and in the end I love the results.
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I decided to make this sweater because I put Madelinetosh dk in Snowcone Shack next to Neon Peach and thought this could be a nice pairing. I added in my leftover Miss Babs Yowza in Oyster to help stretch out the yardage but as I knit I realized my Neighborhood Fiber Co yarn I dyed in mint would be another pretty addition. It just kind of came together organically. I used my notes from when I made my last improvised top down tee in the spring and new I wanted to work on making a better scoop neck.
Faded freestyle
This was is still a bit deep (I have yet to perfect my scoop neck) but I made up for it with a considerable amount of ribbing along the neckline. And when I finished the body I decided why not pick up the little dark flecks in the Snowcone Shack and I used the last of the Druid Hill colorway I had in my stash – I like! Since I loved the i-cord edging and the sleeves from my Angelina I thought I’d bring those elements to this too, I really wanted it to be a more relaxed tunic style. And I love a loser bell sleeve, so I added a few increases to give the sleeves more flare. I love the end results and it’s so soft and has a nice drape to the fabric. These are all dk/light worsted weight yarns that work together as seen in other projects, so I knew what I was going to get.
Faded freestyle
Whenever I post sweaters like this that don’t have a pattern I’m inevitably asked to write patterns – but I’m just not there yet. Sweaters like this are me learning and growing as a knitter. I like to experiment, build on my skills and play around with what I make for myself – before I turn my work into a pattern. There’s still a lot I don’t know and I can’t even begin think about making a pattern in multiple sizes. Right now I just selfishly knit for me. So I won’t say never to pattern writing but I will say not right now. I’ve still got a lot of work I want to do before I share that with others. Now if only the temps would go down so I could wear my knits I’d be much happier.

Sweater Knitting: Picking Colors

sweaterknitting
I get two questions when it comes to my knitting: how do you knit that much and how do you come up with these color combos? It always tickles me that my knitting output and my color selection are the top questions but I’ve been asked so much recently about how I come up with these color combos I thought I’d talk about my inspiration behind some of my picks and share a few ideas I have for the future as part of my slow going Sweater Knitting Series.
Family Photos 1982
First, I should let you know that I’ve been color obsessed since I can remember. My mother dressed me in color and pattern all the time but at an early age I asked to pick out my clothes and had a strong opinion on what I wanted wear. I picked paint colors, wallpaper and carpet for my childhood bedrooms and my parents gave me a lot of creative freedom to pick what I liked regardless of how much they didn’t agree with my choices. I’m thankful they let me express myself. When it comes to picking color combinations it’s really just about what inspires me, what makes me happy and what I think is just fun. My husband (who has mid-range colorblindness) tells me that I clearly see a very vivid world. I agree with him.
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So here’s a prime example of inspiration inspiring a color palette. This is a random picture of a sunrise I took one morning when I was walking the dogs. But within this I see a great color combo that is similar to…
Cracked Pepper Cardigan
My color combo from my Cracked Pepper cardigan! A lot of times I say to myself ‘I really should knit a neutral’ but in the end there’s always a POP of color because I can’t just do a full grey sweater. That isn’t fun to wear. And neon peach surprisingly goes well with lots of other colors. On the color wheel it’s opposite blue so I pair this sweater a lot with varying shades of blue.

Pairings
Left to right: Lemonade Shop Sparkle DK in Girls Gone Wild, Madelinetosh Neon Peach, Hedgehodge Fibers Merino DK in Pucker and Madelinetosh Torchere

Currently I’ve been using the subtle colors and tones in yarns to create a color palette. This all started with wanting to pair the Madelinetosh Neon Peach with Torchere without really mixing in any neutrals. I’ve been thinking of a bold sweater for fall. Both of these initial yarns have ribbons of pink in them so I’ve added in a Lemonade Shop color pink that picks up the pink in the Neon Peach and a Hedgehodge Fibers color Pucker that pulls together the peach and the deeper pinks of Torchere. Now to ground this out I may actually use black for ribbing/bands since there are some black flecks in the lightest pink yarn but other than that it’s a color explosion of pink and orange. That’s how I come up with a color palette. I just see it in the subtle tones and stripes that vary in the color.
Striped saddle shoulder sweater
For me, the more colors and the brighter they are the more I love it. And that’s what really inspired my Saddle Shoulder Striped tee, it was just a lot of happy color. It’s a lot to some but to me this is perfection. Meanwhile others love how subtle the Cosette tee’s colorblocking looks.
Cosette final
This was just based on what colors in the entire palette of Pima 100 could I blend with the pink and purple I already had in my pile of leftovers. The heathered pink and blue make for great transitional colors to make this color spectrum work. But I also see making this top in a neutral like a pale grey or white and adding in a gorgeous green as the pop color. For me color is happiness. I pull at the little flecks of color in a yarn to find that color combo you wouldn’t expect. I use the underlying color to make contrasting color choices. But honestly, for the most part I just try to make it fun. So how do you go about choosing your colors?