Choosing Colors for Projects

One of the things I love best about knitting is the colors. There are so many to choose from! I love browsing my LYS and looking at all the colors, pairing them together for various projects and deciding which would be the best choice for the recipient. Color choices are highly personal, and it's important to realize that the combination you love may not be everyone's cup for tea. For example, Knitscene editor Amy Palmer wears almost exclusively jewel-tones, whereas assistant editor Louisa Demmitt has to be careful not to dress like a tree; her favorite colors are green and brown. Knits assistant editor Hannah Baker claims her favorite colors were inspired by her childhood love of The Little Mermaid: blue, green, and purple, the colors of the sea. I spent years convinced I was an "autumn" and should only dress in earth-tones, but eventually decided they weren't my favorites; now I dress mostly in bright, springy colors.

I spent some time playing with my stash, putting together various combinations for a future project from Brioche Chic. It's important to look at different colors together and see what that particular combination says to you. Here are a few pairings I tried:

These are what I would refer to as the "yummy" combinations. On the left are the citrus colors, orange and lemon. On the right, chocolate mint– delicious! I like both of these pairings, but orange isn't a color I wear that often, and I think the green and brown may be too high-contrast for what I had in mind. Onward!

These are both good combinations too. The first one reminds me of Vincent Van Gogh's The Starry Night, a classic, but again fairly high-contrast. The second is one of those combinations that can be different for different people: it reminds me of sunflowers, whereas someone else remarked that I should make a Charlie Brown cowl. Once I heard that, I couldn't unsee it; it's a fun idea, but not what I had in mind.

Finally, the tonal pairings.The red and brown pair works well; value-wise, they're very similar and would probably look like one color from a distance. However, they're also part of that autumnal palette that I'm trying to branch away from, and I think I'd like a little more contrast. The blue pair is my favorite; the difference in colors is more pronounced, but they're in the same color family, which makes it feel a little less starkly different. Using directions from Brioche Chic, I knit a swatch in brioche rib to see how they knit up together.

And we have a winner! The first swatch has the darker color as the dominant color; it just reads as a more complicated blue. I think the second swatch is how I'd use these colors; with the darker color in the background, it looks like shadows and gives the stitch a little more depth. I like it!

So what's your palette? Which colors would you choose, and why?

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