Color Your World

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The same red-violet
appears warmer or
cooler depending on
the color around it. 
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I love color. I love bright colors, dull colors, neutrals, jewel tones and everything in between. There are very few colors I dislike, and oh, so many I love. Combining colors is like alchemy, with some combinations bringing out the best in each other and others bringing out the worst. One of my favorite color pairings is bright pink and olive green—it sounds awful in theory but in practice it’s stunning.

Some people have what I like to call an artist’s eye for color. These are the people that seem to instinctively know what colors look best together and in what proportions They’re unafraid to combine colors that I’d be scared to use alone—and it always looks FABULOUS.

Knowing how to use color in weaving is very important, and this is something I think about every time I see a color gamp. The way the warp and weft threads transform throughout the weaving is almost like magic. Unfortunately I was not blessed with an artist’s eye for color and I’ve had many color disasters, through which I’ve learned valuable lessons the hard way about what not to do .

Fortunately for me—and anyone else who’s less than confident about their ability to choose colors—you can learn how to choose beautiful and interesting color combinations. Once you understand the basics of hue, value, and saturation, and know how to use a color wheel, everything becomes so clear.

It reminds me of when I was first starting to cook without recipes. I had what seemed like a million herbs and spices and no idea how to use most of them. Now I can taste something and know instinctively what to add to brighten the flavor or add some depth, and I’m learning to be the same way with color.

  Color wheel
  Learning to use a color wheel is an
easy way to increase your color

Right now I’m addicted to Deb Menz’s book ColorWorks. It’s a fabulous resource that explains everything you’ve ever wanted to know about how color works. Most importantly for me, it includes a handy punch-out color wheel and templates to place over it, so choosing a pallet is a snap. It’s almost like magic the way she has you combine colors to make one brighter or to increase dramatic effect. I'm also obsessed with A Fiber Artist's Guide to Color—the way Laura Bryant teaches you to organize your stash is life-changing information.

I’m also very excited about Handwoven’s May/June 2013 issue which is all about exploring color in weaving. If you have any projects ideas for our color issue or any color questions you’ve always wanted answered, send us an email!

Until then, I hope you all have a very happy—and colorful—new year!


Christina Garton

Color Your World

A note from Kathleen: Color knitting is a technique that once mastered—or even tried, if I'm being honest—is addicting. When I'm knitting with color, whether it's intarsia, Fair Isle, or even a simple stripe, I have a hard time putting my knitting down because I want to see what comes next. Knits Editor Eunny Jang loves color knitting, too, and she and the eBook team have put together a new pattern collection, Stranded Color Knitting Gifts to Give, with small projects to knit and give —if you can part with them after you're finished! Here's Eunny to tell you more:

The Chivalry Mitts by Alexis Winslow. These heart-patterned mitts can be personalized with the initials of the recipient!

Stranded Color Knitting

I've always loved stranded colorwork.

Originally intended as a way to show off the many black, brown, and cream shades of wool that can come from primitive-breed sheep, stranded colorwork today is a lively, lovely connection both to knitting's past and its bright present. And with good reason: there's serious magic in how a  handful of colors, a simple pattern, and a bit of technique can turn plain knitting into lush, painterly fabrics with rich visual depth.

Stranded colorwork is also extra-warm and dense, making it perfect for cozy, sturdy accessories. For this collection, we've chosen small projects for the hands, feet, and head that make perfect gifts, with patterning that ranges from traditional to ultra-mod.

All are knitted in the round, making it easy to practice your stranded colorwork skills with the right side of the work always facing you. And we've included a bonus guide to color mixing for knitters, so you can make color choices with ease and confidence.

Download Stranded Knitting Gifts to Give from the Knitting Daily Shop, choose your pattern and your colors, and get knitting and giving.


P.S. Do you love color knitting? Leave a comment and tell us why!

Color Your World

My green pearl nightmare!
I spent the weekend experimenting with color. For my first experiment, I used Jamie Hogsett's Champagne Necklace (from the new book, Create Jewelry: Pearls) as my inspiration. I used a narrower ribbon and thinner wire (26-gauge) than Jamie did, just because that's what I had on hand. For the pearls, I picked out a strand of multicolored Swarovski crystal pearls that had been languishing in my stash for months. I had purchased them thinking it was a smart budgetary move—rather than buying individual strands of all the colors I liked, this one multicolored strand would give me a little bit of everything. But the way the pearls arrived, strung temporarily together with pink next to green, lavender next to peach, just made them all look completely unappealing. (Imagine opening your closet to find it full of unflattering pastel bridesmaid dresses. That's what it felt like every time I saw those pearls!) I tried sorting them, but in a way, that was even worse. There was no way I would ever use all those green pearls!



Color experiment #1


To my surprise, those pearls actually looked good spread out on the ribbon, instead of jammed up against one another. They just needed a little breathing room.

My second experiment was prompted by something I just read in Mastering Beadwork by Carol Huber Cypher: "If your work is monochromatic (one color), then what you see is what you get. Otherwise, each bead's color can be affected by the neighboring beads. This is one of the most exciting and compelling features of composing work from hundreds of such tiny units."

Using ladder stitch, I stitched together two rows of uninspiring olive/brown seed beads with some of my favorite blues and a little burgundy thrown in.

I especially liked the olive and burgundy together, which is not a combination that I would have ever considered. If you want try this second experiment yourself, here's what you do:


  1. Buy some seed beads in a color you don't particularly like.
  2. Stitch these beads together with some beads you do like.
  3. Prepare to be amazed!

Color experiment #2

I'd love to hear from some of you about your experiences with color, whether with beads or in another medium you enjoy. Any happy surprises? Tips? Horror stories?

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