How to choose the perfect color combination for your knits

Yesterday I talked about how the fiber content of Unity yarn inspired me to choose it for my Graphite Tank top. Today I want to focus on how I made the color choices for this project.

Color is so important to me when I pick a yarn for my knitting that it may be the first decision I make. With the Unity yarn by Fibra Natura the colors are perfect for the rustic, organic quality of the yarn – subtle and natural. I went back and forth as to which colors to use for the lace section at the bottom of the top. The original version of the Graphite Tank is knit with a gray-scale lace. I wanted a to bring a little more color to my project, but I still wanted it to remain subtle. Unity yarn’s color choices made it super easy!

So many beautiful colors! How do you choose?

Graphite Tank top in grayscale lace made with Papyrus yarn

The right color choices bring a design to life

When it comes to choosing color, I used to be purely instinctual in my choice. Lately, I’ve been incorporating color theory into my decisions. I’m not an expert color theorist, but then you don’t have to be to use some of the basic rules to make the colors in your knitted projects perfect. I decided to go with blue as the base for my color choices then added two complementary colors to go with it. Purple and green both have blue as a part of their make-up: blue and red make purple, and blue and yellow make green. Blue, purple, and green are complementary in color theory, because they sit beside each other on the color wheel.

Colors beside each other on the color wheel are complementary colors. Ones directly across from each other are contrasting (ie: red and green)

Shooting for the perfect balance with Unity yarn

From left to right: Windchime, Silver Blue, Purple Fog, and Sage

For my Graphite Tank I used Unity yarn’s colorways: SagePurple Fog, and Silver Blue. For the body of the top I wanted a neutral color, so I picked the color Windchime. A neutral is a color that can be blended with any other color. Gray, white, and black are neutrals. Windchime is a cool light gray color. Here’s what I mean by ‘cool’…

Color temperature

A collage of cool colors

Above you’ll see a photo of the blues, purples, and greens that make up the “cool” colors. For my Graphite Tank I definitely wanted to bring on the cool to match the cotton/linen coolness of the fiber, and the airy design of the top.

Below are the “hot” colors: red, yellow, and orange. Those are lovely in a fall sweater, or warm shawl. I actually considered the Unity yarn colors: ElixirAlizarinCognac, and Cob, but they didn’t have the cool feeling I wanted for a summer tank top. I figured I’m a middle aged woman…I’m hot enough.

Hot colors

Hitting the right color tone

Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to worry about color tone. Unity yarn has the light and natural tone that I was looking for in my top. Other yarns can range from pastel to deep rich to bright to blinding neon. Choosing a single tone for all your colors in a project helps unify it from top to bottom, and creates a peaceful, pleasing arrangement throughout.

The other reason I wanted a subtle tone for my colors in the lace section of my Graphite Tank top was that I knew this part would fall at the most dramatic area of my body. Being pear shaped, my lower waist and hips are the greatest size while my chest and shoulders are smaller (keep an eye out for my fourth post this week if you’re interested in finding out how I worked the Graphite Tank to suit the shape of my body.) Normally, I choose projects that bring color and texture to the upper chest, while using neutral colors at the hips. Since attention is already at the more luxurious size of my lower body, I decided that having the color muted would bring a light, pretty touch to dress my hips.

The subtle toned cool colors of Unity yarn in the sweet wink of lace at the bottom of the Graphite Tank makes this top something special. Hopefully, I’ve helped you with your color choices today. Tomorrow I’ll share some Lace Knithacks to help make knitting lace a breeze! Well, breezier anyway.

Unity yarn ‘Windchime’ on a bed of lace. Learn my tricks to making lace easier to knit in tomorrow’s post.

This is part 2 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 1: Fiber content, the foundation of knitting

Go to part 3: How to make lace fun to knit!

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