Get the Right Combinations With the Crafter’s Guide to Color

One of the behind-the-curtain wizardries of the magazine is selecting yarn colors for projects that are harmonious without being all matchy-matchy. Our in-house color expert provides a palette. Then I select yarns that work best for both the project and the palette.

This is about the time my husband, who shares an office with me, heads out to work in a coffee shop for a few days. Every surface—desk, floor, wall—is covered with yarn, spreadsheets, color charts, and yarn palettes. And in the middle of it all is Color Works: The Crafter's Guide to Color by Deb Menz (Interweave 2004).

I love color and can put together things that please me. But this magazine is all about pleasing you. And you probably don't want a bunch of pink and purple sweaters (of course, if you do, let me know—it will make the process a lot easier!). Deb Menz's very clever book helps me select colors that are happy together.

I have been using this book for crafting since it came out in 2004. It does some things that other color books do: It explains the color wheel, as well as harmony, contrast, and hue. It explains how to combine two, three, or four colors to produce varying results. As a bonus, it has punch-out cards to help you pick color combinations for complementary, split complementary, tetrad, square tetrad, hexad, and more (and explains what all those mean).

But the real brilliance of this book, the one that makes it the choice for crafters, is that it illustrates the color compositions with actual crafts: spun singles, knitting, weaving, thread embroidery, bead embroidery, surface design, machine embroidery, quilting, and paper collage. So you can actually see what each medium looks like. In the "hue" section, for instance, there are four little quiltettes stitched in shades of red that show how the design is changed by the placement of the various hues. In the knitted swatch, I can see how the placement of a light, medium, or dark yarn affects the yarns next to it and the feel of the whole piece.

It's brilliant, I tell you.

Until next week, happy crocheting.



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