A Chit-Chat about choosing colors

A Chit-Chat about choosing colors

How many times have you agonized trying to decide which yarn you are going to use for the next project in your cue? If your anything like me, the answer is: Many, many times!

The choice of yarn is important. How it looks and feels in a skein can be different from the look and feel after its been worked up. Which will ultimately determine the wearability of the finished project. And we want to wear the thing, right?

The considerations I mentioned above ARE important! However, when choosing yarn one of the more important considerations should be around the design elements. You can be in love with that speckled, neon colorway but is it going to look right with the pattern? Maybe not, so save that for another project.

The design elements are what draw us in and make us want to make the pattern, so we should pay attention to that as well as the look and feel.

The design elements when making a sweater, for example, are things like, how it fits, is it meant to be tighter or loose fitting (negative/positive ease) is it a round yoke with colorwork, are the sleeves close cropped or do they flare out, the neckline, etc. You see where I am going with this?

Then we have to consider texture...or the absence of texture and herein lies the problem.

Choosing the right colors for texture.

When we choose to make something, we are investing our time, energy and lets be real... our money into it. The last thing you want after all that time, energy and money has been spent is disappointment.

You made this cool textured piece with that gorgeous variegated yarn to find that the busy-ness of the yarn basically voids all that texture.

Simply put, all your work.

We need to choose the right yarn for the right project. How do you do this?

Well for starters, designers tell you the yarn that they used in their sample. So the easiest way is to start there, but I can tell you from experience that most people go rogue and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Use the info from the designers yarn and get close, swatch Go Rogue

So here are somethings to consider:

If you are going to be making a top-down raglan that is all knit in stockinette with maybe a little garter, or is all double crochet, you could use almost any colorway and it will look good.

In fact, those types of projects are where your highly variegated, speckled or color zip yarns really shine and where I would say that you could be more liberal with your choices. (There is the issue of color pooling, but that is for another blog post)

If you are making a pattern that has cables, slipped stitch motifs, twisted stitches, anything that adds considerable texture choosing a colorway that is semi-solid, tonal or just straight up solid is key.

I hear your gears grinding, so let me explain. 

Highly variegated yarns, are just that...variegated, they change colors very quickly when you work them up.

So for example, when you are knitting a motif like the fractured lattice portion of my latest design, those quick color changes basically eat the texture. It makes it hard to see, even up close and photographing is something you might as well just skip because its very hard on the eyes.

Look at this first sample of the Misdirection Cowl using a colorway from my shop called 'Beware the Kelpie'

Misdirection cowl

You can sort of see the fractured lattice but you have to strain your eyes to make it out. This colorway is beautiful but was not a good choice for a textured design. My design methodology is very intuitive, so when I start with an idea I never really know where its gonna go, until I get there and here we are.

So I made a second sample pictured below with a colorway from my shop called 'Hope'

Misdirection cowl sample solid

This colorway is an excellent choice for texture. The tonal hues are quite similar so you can visually see the texture and it's not hard on the eyes to look at.

Whether you knit or crochet, the colors you choose for textured projects is going to make the difference between seeing all your hard work and effort or kinda -  sorta - not at all being able to see it. 

Ultimately, I always support you choosing the yarn that speaks to your soul, and that is really the most beautiful part of making and creating. You get to do what you want. I feel like I wouldn't be doing my job though if I didn't at least mention it. 

Drop any questions or constructive thought nuggets in the comments and as always make loops with love!


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