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Creating a Color Palette

Updated: Feb 22

Gosh, I just love playing with color palettes! In case you missed it, I talked about how to find color inspiration in your day to day lives in my last blog post.

Today, I want to share more about how exactly I take those little moments of joy and turn them into a color palette from a picture I've snapped!

The first thing you need, of course, is a good tool.

My favorite site for creating color palettes from images right now is Coolers. It's super user friendly, easy to upload an image either from your computer or by dropping in the URL, you can tweak or select different colors from the image for your palette, and you can even change how many colors you want in it! You'll also get the HEX codes right there on your palette, which probably won't help you in the yarn store much, but it's nice to have access to that information! Here's a look at the palette I came up with for the rosebush picture I shared with you last time:

This has such a rustically romantic sort of mood to me. It feels like ... hot chocolate and peonies. Log cabins and wine. A good book by a fire. Mmm! Would you have picked these colors out just looking at the picture? Do you think you would have picked different colors? How about if you were to condense this palette to just three colors, which three would you choose? (I'd choose the cream, the bright pink, and the darkest brown!)

Just how do you choose the colors, though? So, you can, of course, simply go with one of the automatically generated palettes. That's a function that I actually really enjoy just sort of playing with on Coolers, watching the colors jump and dance around as I toggle through different palettes! Maybe I'm easily entertained, though... For me, I like to look for color + neutral + contrast.

That means I want a pop of color (or two!) plus a neutral color (white, cream, gray, brown, black, or dark blue). AND I'm going to check for contrast between my colors. That means I want some light and some dark and not all just medium, middle of the road sort of colors.

One great way to check this is by editing an image into black and white or grayscale. You should be able to do this in any photo editing software that you already have either on your phone or on your computer. Let's have a look at the rose in grayscale:

Do you see how they're not just all monotonous shades of gray? The top one almost looks black and the one in the center is a very light, soft gray, pretty close to white, so those will give me good contrast with the other three more medium grays. Remember how I said I'd choose the cream and the darkest brown for a three color palette? This is why! And do you see how that bright pink looks pretty much exactly like the brown for the MOST MEDIUM of grays!? Value, y'all. It's bonkers. But it's also a game changer for creating dynamic pieces with that wow factor you're looking for. With practice, you'll start to pick up on the colors that have lighter and darker values without having to take a picture in grayscale, but those ones in the middle? Those are a little trickier. So don't be afraid to pull out your phone right there in the yarn shop if you need to! This next one was harder to choose colors for, but you'll notice that I still have a light off white and a dark blue here. Those two colors give me neutrals + contrast. Then I can sort of play around with the other colors!