Choosing Crochet Mandala Colors is as Easy as 1, 2, 3

Something I hear time and again when talking with crocheters about stitching mandalas is that mandalas are beautiful, but they don’t know what colors to pick. Combining colors into a pleasing palette can be a challenge, but there are ways to overcome your color fears and make a beautiful finished object.

It’s all about simplifying.

That’s right: creating a beautiful mandala is as easy as 1, 2, or 3.

Using a few of the beautiful examples of colorful crochet mandalas from the 50+ that appear in Modern Crochet Mandalas, let’s explore some of the approaches to color you can take when picking skeins for your next project. These approaches are less stressful for you and result in a stitched piece just as stunning as ones with countless colors.

1. Simple & Solid

The easiest way to dive into making a crochet mandala without fear of choosing the wrong colors is to simply choose your favorite color and go. There is a meditative quality to crocheting mandalas that is meant to soothe and relax you; it shouldn’t be stressful, it should be fun. So if color choice has you biting your nails and setting your hook down, replace the angst with something from your stash that makes you happy.

Sandra Eng’s Puffs and Picots mandala shows that a single color can look just as lovely as a mandala with many shades.

2. A Dynamic Duo

Like Batman and Robin, Han Solo and Chewbacca, and peanut butter and jelly, some things are made stronger when they have a counterpart. The same is true for color. Picking two colors that either strongly contrast each other (like Han Solo and Chewbacca: one human and one adorable giant fluff ball) or are two shades of the same color (like Batman and Robin, both human superheroes) gives your project visual interest without a huge color commitment.

When choosing two contrasting colors, avoid using them in equal parts. One color needs to be the lead and the other a supporting actor, er, color. Sandra Eng illustrates this in her color choices for the Stanley’s Labyrinth mandala. To see the path of the slip stitches in this mandala, the off-white yarn needs a strong foundation color behind it. Had this been made in a single color or many colors, it wouldn’t have been as successful.

Modern Crochet Mandalas

In Stanley’s Labyrinth (left), the cream-colored slip stitches play Han Solo to the pink stitches’ Chewbacca. Twirling (right) shows how two shades of the same color balance each other nicely.

When choosing colors for my Twirling mandala, I went for two shades of blue—one medium and one dark. Each color is used in equal parts, and as the colors converse and play off each other you start to notice their individual characteristics. The medium blue pops just a bit and you can see its stitch definition easily; the darker shade is a bit moodier. Together they make a well-balanced pair.

3. Try a Trio

(My love of alliteration knows no end. Sorry, not sorry.)

They say two’s company and three’s a crowd, but I don’t think that applies to color choices. When you’re looking to try new techniques but the thought of having to pick a palette of 5 or 6 colors holds you back, try a trio of colors instead. Similar to the idea of a dynamic duo made from two shades of the same color, to create a 3-color project simply pop in one more shade to make a palette of a light, medium, and dark colors. When you limit the palette in this way, you really can’t go wrong.

Modern Crochet Mandalas

This Mini Rosette mandala from Modern Crochet Mandalas illustrates a light, medium, and dark color trio.

Are you color wheels spinning yet? Are you thinking about skeins in your stash you can pull to stitch a crochet mandala? Share your thoughts on color in the comments below!

-Kerry Bogert
Editorial Director, Books

Grab your hook, a colorful skein of yarn, and a copy for Modern Crochet Mandalas today!

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