Choosing Colorways – QueerJoe’s Methodology
How do you look at a web page filled with fantastically beautiful yarns and choose colorways that will work in your knitting? Here’s my method for choosing colorways.
Choosing Colorways That Fit Your Knitting
First of all, I do not have an innate ability to choose colors. Even as a gay man, despite what some may tell you. My methods for choosing colors has come from decades of trial and error.
For me, there are three ways that colors are brought together:
- Blended – stitches are small enough and mixed together closely enough to blend the colors. This applies to both solid colors and variegated yarns.
- Intermixed – usually this applies to variegated or handpainted yarns. It’s when the colors pool and stripe, but are kept separate enough to maintain their own distinct colorways.
- Composite – usually applies to solid colored yarns.
Colorways for Blending
Mostly, I want to make sure the colors don’t mix in a way that makes brown. Just like mixing paint colors, you want to stay away from colors that will mix in a muddy sort of way. Sticking with “blues” (blue, purple, teal, etc.) works well. Also going with a maximum of two primary colors with approximate equal weights of saturation works as well. But make sure your two colors don’t make brown. Green and red might not be the best two choices.
Colorways for Intermixing
This is the area where I have had to do the most trial and error. The Knitted Cross Stitch Scarf, the Interlocking Crochet Scarf and even the garter striped scarves all “intermix” colorways. Here’s my advice about choosing colorways for intermixing:
- Stick to two colorways
- Choose one colorway that has vibrant and/or bright colors that you like
- Choose the other colorway with a more bland muted colorway.
For me, this wasn’t intuitive. I wanted to choose more “harmonious” colorways. But I found that having a more bland background on an intermixing project made the vivid colors pop even more. I also found that one specific color included in the bland colorway almost always works.
Depending on how many colors are in the composite, there are two basic strategies. Either go monochromatic (all blues, all reds, all greens, etc.) and choose different hues (dark, pastel, bright, etc.). Or go with all the same weight of any color. The patchwork sweater I’m wearing in the photo above is obviously multi-color in the same weight, except for two of the colors. My theory on that sweater was to have a background of deep, saturated colors and have two “kicker” or brighter colors evenly balanced across the sweater. If it’s not obvious the aqua and the peach are the two brighter colors.
The Perfect Purl just started offering Uneek Fingering Yarns in all the colorways in the feature photo above. I wanted to choose two colorways to “intermix.” Which two do you think I chose?
The Zig Zag Striped Scarf is finished!
The scarf ended up being about 62″ long and 10″ wide. The garter stitch done on the bias makes the yarn almost feel like chenille.
Pop Quiz Number 2
Which of the three methods of putting colors together would you consider this scarf?