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How I cheat when choosing yarn colour combos…. and get away with it

You do not have to be a Sheldon Cooper type Theoretical Physicist or an Archibald prize winning artist to understand just how many colours there are in the world. According to a Google, there are an infinite number of colours. For yarn lovers, it may seem that at times when choosing yarn for projects – so many yarn brands produce a seemingly infinite number of yarn colours to pick from. So, with the choice of yarn colours being such a critical factor whether your project will look good or not, it is no wonder we can feel so much pressure on choosing the right yarn colours.

In Kindergarten, we were taught that there are three primary colours, Red, Yellow and Blue. Teachers also taught us that we make other colours by mixing these primary colours together and presto! We have a different colour! Yet, what we were not taught in kindergarten is how all the different colours should go together to look aesthetically pleasing. (I’m looking at every parent’s refrigerator door and can see all the paintings that have ever been bought home from school)

We have all seen bad colour choices in crochet. Social media has put all kinds of colours out there, and it is not polite or socially acceptable to comment how bad some of them are, and that is in most cases, due to bad colour combinations.

In crochet, if the colour section of the yarn is not spot on, good technique and fancy stitches will not matter. Furthermore, if makers sell their completed crochet projects online, yarn colour choice is the only impression that a buyer will notice when making a purchase, so makers must ensure the first impression counts.  It is essential in crocheting that makers have a basic understanding of which yarn colours match together.

The holy grail item in my crochet kit

My go-to tool that I always use when choosing colours for my crochet projects, is a called an ‘Artist’s Colour Wheel’. This circular piece of colourful cardboard, purchased from any art shop, is hands down the best $30.00 I have ever spent on any item in my crochet kit.

The wheel has the three primary colours, Red, Green and Blue, and beside them are the variations of the primary colours that lead from one primary colour to the other. The outer colours of the wheel are called the ‘pure colours’, then below are the tint, tone and shade of the pure colours. You can spin the wheel around to reflect what ever colour you choose to be your main colour of your project, then it all unravels from there.

Whenever I plan a new project, I always start with just one colour in mind that I want to have in my project.  For example, if I am making a blanket for a baby boy, my one colour could be blue. I would then move the wheel to have blue at the top of the wheel in the same position of where 12:00 would be on a clock.

There are many combinations that can be created together by using this wheel after you decide on the first colour, however I will explain the four colour schemes I use as a guide when choosing yarn colours.

1. Complimentary

This is using any two colours directly opposite each other on the wheel. Example, Blue and Orange. Simple but beautiful.

2. Split Complimentary

Using any colour with the two colours on each side of its compliment. Example, Blue with Red-Orange and Yellow Orange. This combination works, trust me.

3. Triad

Using three colours equally spaced from each other on the wheel. Example, Orange, Violent and Green. Sounds strange written as words on paper but looks exquisite when these colours are all united in one project.

4. Tetrad

For an explosion of colour in a project – the Tetrad colour scheme is a combination of four colours on the wheel that are two sets of complimentary colours. example Blue and Orange with Red and Green. This variation of colour scheme is harmonious, striking and you will be on a winner with using the Tedrad combination of colours.

Let me know by replying to this blog, or by Facebook Group – Aussie Yarn Addicts by Yarn Artistry and let me know if the colour wheel has been your saviour when choosing yarn colours. Alternatively, please share any other methods you find useful when you make your choice of yarn colour combos for your projects.


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