How to Choose the Perfect Color Scheme for Knitting, Crochet, and Fiber Arts with Pictures


Reynolds Garden TweedRemember that time when you had an awesome pattern that you were dying to make, or a stitch you just had to try out? Remember going to the yarn store and having no idea what colors to get? - You want it to be perfect!

Some people have a natural gift for color choice, but a lot of the time it's harder than we expect. We know what colors go together, but we want to make sure the scheme is really right and really what we (or a giftee) like. In this guide, we'll look at ways to find color schemes that you love but maybe haven't consciously identified.

When we walk into an art gallery or look at the pages of a magazine or, even more likely, scrolled through pages and pages of Pinterest posts, there are images that are more appealing to us than others - something about them sticks out and grabs us. It might be the subject in the picture or the lighting or the clever angle, but it might just be the color. We associate colors with everything from our favorite things, memories, sports teams, relationships on the color wheel, and even moods and emotions. Images can capture those meaningful aspects through color - let's try it.

Below is a collection of pictures and paintings that were visually appealing to me because of the colors (along with other things, of course!). The yarns pictured are from Webs: America's Yarn Store, a massive online resource for buying yarn. If there is a yarn that really makes an impression on you, all of the pictures link to that yarn's page.

Let's begin with a simple photo, color-wise. Isn't she lovely? This picture glows to me, and the colors really help that happen. Here's what I found:


Photograph by Mai An Hoa
Cascade Yarns Eco Highland Duo Fyberspates Scrumptious 4-Ply Sport Superwash O-Wool Classic 2-Ply


I'll be honest - I'm not being very picky at the moment about yarn weight, fiber, etc. This is all about color. But! These happen to all look pretty darn good in both categories. The colors here are pretty straight forward - you can see where each came from, even if they are not the exact shade. I also chose a shinier yarn for the pink color because there is a certain sparkle that I find in this picture. In recreating that kind of mood, the shinier yarn felt appropriate.

These owls are just fantastic. I think we can agree that what makes this picture stick out (aside from their adorable head tilts!!) is their beautiful blue eyes. Let's see what I came up with:

via aquieterstorm.tumblr.com
Juniper Moon Farm Findley Dappled Valley Yarns Greenwich Juniper Moon Farm Findley 

The main colors in this photo are shades of gray from very light to very dark (bordering black) and the blue. While this seems straightforward, the shades of gray actually give us a lot of leg room. The first yarn is a multi-gray blend. If you look carefully, you'll notice that I didn't choose a gray to match their feathers exactly. Instead, I went with a blend with a bluer tone to compliment the eyes. This is completely up to you!! The second color matches the eyes, and the third some of the lighter feathers.


This is a wonderful photograph of Lauren Bacall. Of course it's amazing because it's Lauren Bacall, but the colors definitely add to the pop in this picture. Let's see what I found:

Lauren Bacall
 Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace Cascade Yarns Casablanca Juniper Moon Farm Findley

Green?? Yellow?? What??!! Truly, this photo has all of the colors you need and more with the linens, wallpaper, pictures, and Lauren herself. But I definitely want to emphasize that you shouldn't limit yourself. I think the colors are awesome in the picture, but I really love the colorful yarn, too. It is a different flavor!

Here's a painting I really enjoy. It really is all about color in the painting, for me, because I love the softer, almost weathered tones. Here's what I came up with:

John William Waterhouse's Miranda
Anzula Cloud Araucania Liwen Fibre Company Acadia Fiddlesticks Knitting Enticing Imperial Yarn Tracie Too

The painting is really rich in color, so I'm sharing a few more ideas. If you're shocked by the light purple, take a look at the top left of the corner. These colors are by no means exclusive. You might also be attracted to the brown shades in the rocks, the creamier shades in the water, or even the greenish tones in the rising waves.

Here are two of Degas' dancers. Degas plays wonderfully with color. When we first look at this picture, we likely first see the stunning yellow and blue. Let's see what else:

Edgar Degas Two Dancers
Lana Gatto VIP Pagewood Farm Swagger Light Regia Angora Merino Berroco Borealis Berroco Peruvia Discontinued Colors

You'll be able to find most of these colors very easily in the painting. The darker color on the lower left might be a bit more startling. But look closely and see if you can't find all of the colors the yarn has in the painting. Maybe all five of these yarns would be more than you're looking for, but recognizing what colors are there and which are particularly stunning or appealing will help you build the scheme you're looking for.

Now that you've hopefully got the hang of it, here are three more schemes for some more inspiration:

Cherry Blossom Walk, Sakura, Japan
Universal Yarn Bamboo Bloom Handpaints Universal Yarn Eden Silk Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran


Berroco Linsey Reynolds Soft Linen Reynolds Garden Tweed

I love these yarns so much!! Ahhh!

Purple and Orange Starfish on the Beach by The Marque
Cascade Yarns Rustic Plymouth Yarn Mulberry Merino Reynolds Kids Collection Wash Day Wool

We could go on and on! Here are a few points we covered:
- We already know what we like; it's all about consciously identifying the colors that already make an impact on us.
- Don't worry if the shades aren't exactly the same - look to trigger the same or similar emotions and color attraction, not to duplicate the exact shades (unless a shade is so incredible you need to have it!).
- Try stretching the colors a little, even if it doesn't match the image. You never know!
- If the image is rich in colors, see what your options are and try to identify which colors are extra special. They all go together!

Happy knitting everyone!

1 comment:

  1. The blog is absolutely fantastic. Lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need. Thanks.

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