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Color Harmonies in Crochet

We went pretty deep last week with color, I know. I even broke out the big guns with the Fibonacci sequence, right!? It may sound like a lot of math geekery (and okay, maybe it is) but really it's a tool that can be used to help make planning your projects a little bit easier. I even wrote an article about it for Interweave a few years ago! You should check out using Fibonacci numbers for striping out even if you don't think math is fun, ha ha. Like I said, it's a tool and it works beautifully for fades, stripes, and more.

Before I get too much into color again, though, let's have a look at a video that will walk you through using Coolors to create a color palette. You'll get to hear me talk through applying some of the concepts we discussed last week in real time!

And here's the finished palette with my old leaf new leaf picture, in case you're not able to watch the video right now:

Red, orange, yellow, and brown Color palette created with an image of an old dried brown leaf still hanging onto a cottonwood tree alongside the beginnings of new spring leaves budding.

Have you tried making your own color palette yet? I have been, admittedly, having a bit too much fun with it recently! I don't have any projects in mind that I need to choose colors for; I just really enjoy playing with color! In case you can't tell. I just can't help myself! Will you be joining me in the color palette creation madness? If you do, I wanna see what you come up with!!

Okay. Enough about creating color palettes from images already. Let's talk about color harmonies. Briefly. Ish. First up, monochromatic colors.

You'll see these a lot in ombre or gradient mini skein sets. I used a gorgeous peachy colored set from Leading Men Fiber Arts for the Sibyllinity Scarf.

Stitch detail of the Sibyllinity Colorblock Crochet Scarf showcasing the gradient from soft, peachy pink through to a bright pink on the upper edge, separated by a solid line in black with spike stitches worked into a solid block of off white on the bottom half.

Just look at that beautiful fade from the lightest of peachy pinks through to the most brightly saturated pinks! LMFA does really lovely monochromatic gradients in all sorts of colors. And they usually have lots of mini and half skein options for you to choose from, too! You can shop their gradients here. If you happen to have a bunch of sock yarn scraps, though, you can create your own monochromatic fade and then pair it with a contrast color for the black line with spike stitches along with a coordinating neutral for the cream color block of this scarf. Psst, this could also be modified to make a gorgeous blanket! And yes, I'd use the Fibonacci Sequence to determine the width of the two large color blocks! Probably ... 3:5 or so.

How about analogous colors?

How do they differ from monochromes? This is where you really need to pull out your dusty old color wheel. Analogous colors are simply colors that are adjacent to one another. Imagine, for example, selecting a primary color like red and then a secondary color that's next to it, like orange or purple. Now imagine creating a color fade between those two colors. That would be an analogous color scheme. You could even fade further over into the next primary or secondary color one way or another. Orange through yellow to green makes a fun color scheme, for example! I don't have a design that specifically showcases this (hmm, gonna have to remedy that!), but you can actually see a lot of different color harmonies at play in Inflections of Color!

Inflections of Color Crochet Blanket with colors fading in rainbow order from purple on the left to red on the right.

The yarn for this design was from a year long club from Six and Seven Fiber focused on exploring color theory. She's got ALL the different kinds of color harmonies happening across this rainbow of mains and minis! This project was absolutely a delight to work on from start to finish precisely because of all those gorgeous colors. Shop her yarn here or watch for her next club announcement if you want to get started on your own year long project!

Complementary colors are up next.

These are just opposites. Like red and green or purple and yellow. You can create some pretty cool contrast with complementary colors, but it can also do this weird thing where the colors sort of fuzz out at a distance into a muddy, indeterminate shade (this is actually how you mix paint to get neutral browns!) like some sort of optical illusion. We don't usually look at our own makes from far away so most knitters and crocheters won't ever notice this happen, but if you want to really make something pop, then that's when you want to pull out the split complementary color combos. So instead of picking the color directly opposite on the color wheel, pick a color that's slightly to the left or right of the complementary color. You can use this for a true split complementary trio, pairing one color with two of its almost opposites or you can just use one of those to create a high contrast duo that will have a vibrant pop to it that you'll see walking down the street towards you even when it's still blocks away! Now, again, I don't have a design (yet!) that showcases this specific color harmony, but you could take any two or three color project and apply this to it for some really fun results. Some of my two color designs include the Lunar Phases Cowl, Briar Rose Cowl, Baublette Hat, Tarmac Tee, and the Gemma Blanket. You could also use the two color version of The Curiosity Door!

Smiling woman in pink shirt modeling The Curiosity Door Crochet Scarf Pattern using two colors for lengthwise stripes in variegated pink and gray.

This one would let you play with that third color, too, pretty easily. Maybe using your main color for the gray stripes and then alternating the two split complementary colors in the variegated pink panels. Lots of options with this one!

And, of course, if you're stash busting, then you can use THAT to inform your decisions about color harmonies.

Do you have tons of one color that you want to use up? Set yourself up with a monochromatic or analogous color fade and then add in a few pops of split complementary colors to spice things up! If you want to get REALLY fancy with your color theory and start working with triadic or tetradic color harmonies then you really REALLY do need to get yourself a color wheel! I bought myself a really gorgeous one with tons of color variations including showing tones and shades when I started painting. But you know what? I think I've used it more for selecting yarn colors!

24 shade color wheel laying on top of a a rainbow crochet blanket with a hand holding two shades of blue yarn while a darker blue and an orange yarn sit next to their closest shades on the color wheel.

Okay. Are you still with me? How are you liking all this talk about color? Is it inspiring or overwhelming??

If you missed the last two posts and would like read more about color theory and crochet, you can find them here:

What questions do you still have about color? Leave a comment below! Even if it's just to say your brain is tired from all this color talk!

I love it, though, and could talk about color all day. So if you'd like a little one on one assistance sorting out some colors for a project, I'd be absolutely delighted to schedule a color consultation with you on Zoom. Or if you just have a quick question, keep an eye out for our next virtual Sit and Stitch session!

In the meantime, stay curious and keep exploring color, my friends!


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