My #1 secret for choosing yarn color combinations that work –
There is so much to talk about colors. It has been the subject of painters, designers, and everyone in the art world for years! I am sure you heard about color theory, the color wheel, warm and cool tones, and more. I do not pretend to go that deep today in this blog post (there is so much out there on the internet already), but I want to tell you my little secret when selecting yarn color combinations.
I believe some people have a native sense of color, and picking color combos feels natural and easy. If you are not one of them, do not worry. I am not either! Learning about color theory, practicing, training the eye, and remembering this little secret will make the selection of colors very easy! And remember, it is always very personal too!
How to tell if a yarn combo will work?
As I mentioned before, the selection of colors is 100% personal and subjective. It will be influenced by your mood, personality, style, and the result you are looking to achieve.
Sometimes, you want a subtle combination, but other times, you want your pattern to show clearly. That is when you need to start with yarns that have strong light-dark contrast (different value). If you choose two colors with similar values, no matter if they are opposite on the color wheel, your pattern will not show as expected.
The best way to figure out whether two yarns have enough light/dark contrast to make a pattern sufficiently visible is by taking a black-and-white photo of the yarns.
Once we remove the color (hue), you will be able to tell how light or dark each color is in comparison to the one next to it. If one is not considerably higher than the other, they are probably too close in value and will not contrast well. That is because our eyes are much better at distinguishing lightness and darkness than at distinguishing colors. As a result, designs with strong light/dark contrast stand out much more clearly than designs with colors that are about equally dark (or light).
An extra tip when choosing yarn colors
Another very important tip (or I would say necessary step) to confirm your color choice is to make a gauge swatch. This gauge swatch is fundamental to see how colors match with each other. You can even try different colors on the same swatch or invert the same colors (using the background color as the main color and vice-versa).
Thank you for reading this far! And remember, whatever color you choose, make sure YOU like it! It's all about you, exploring your creativity, and having fun!