Posts Tagged ‘color’

Consulting the Experts on Color

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

This is part 3 of my article about yellow that missed being published in 2006 when a magazine went out of business. The article has been updated.

It’s not something we generally think about much if at all, but most of us see the work of color experts every single day. Fashion, food, and craft magazines, advertisements, variegated yarns, and print fabrics are created for maximum appeal. Creators want you to buy them, so they make them beautiful.

For the price of old magazines and yarn or fabric already in our collections, we can consult their color expertise.

For my study of yellow, I gathered magazines that were destined for the recycling bin. When I saw attractive photos and ads with yellow in them, I tore them out.

Yellow, blue, turquoise collage

I ended up with a lot of pages that featured yellow, turquoise, and blue. That summery combination reminds me of swimming pools and sunny beaches with turquoise waters.

Maybe it wasn’t strictly necessary, but it was fun to make this collage…

…and these swatches.

Yellow, blue, turquoise swatches

Intarsia cables are kind of a pain, but they look so nice…

Intarsia knitted cables

As yarn lovers, we’re very familiar with variegated or multicolor yarns. Yarn manufacturers consult experts, predict fashions, and they pick the colors they think will appeal to the most consumers. The same goes for fabric manufacturers.

Go ahead—borrow their expertise!

yellow, pink, blue knitted swatch

Lion Brand’s Lion Ribbon (probably discontinued now) combines yellow with vibrant pink and blue. Small amounts of green, orange, and violet appear between the major colors. I tried to use similar proportions of solid colors in my knitted sample.

The pattern is Barbara Walker’s “String of Pearls,” most likely from her Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns.

Next time: “A Suffusion of Yellow” (Thank you, Douglas Adams.)

Yellow Around the House

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

Still working through the unpublished article about the color yellow, this is part 2. The previous post has a list of basic steps for studying a color.

Izzy the cat with fabric and a margarine tub

Awww, Izzy. She was a pretty and sweet cat!

Like many animals we’ve known, she knew how to present herself to her best advantage. The Holstein-patterned fuzzy fabric matched her perfectly and made us wonder “Is it a cat? Is it a cow?” Meow!

The yellow margarine tub happened to be nearby, adding a pop of color to the mysterious scene.

Yellow with black traditionally means danger or caution, in nature and in human environments. Think of bees and some wasps, with their yellow and black abdomens; think of yellow and black striped road signs that alert drivers to bridges or odd intersections.

Yellow, black, and white seed stitch knitted scarf

Yellow and black can be a jarring combination, but I think adding white lifts it from the caution zone into a happy place.

So when I saw Lion Brand’s black and white FunFetti (now discontinued, I’m sad to say), I didn’t even make a study swatch. I combined it with yellow Wool-Ease to make this scarf. It was my first yellow triumph, thanks to Izzy the cat.

Bluebonnets, Winecups, Engleman's Daisies

Around our house, we had wildflowers. In this bouquet we have Texas Bluebonnets, which you probably recognize as lupines; Winecups, which look like brilliant Easter eggs hiding in the grass; and profusely yellow Engleman’s Daisies. They form one of our spring’s most delicious color combinations.

The bouquet inspired me. I wanted to knit the blue, magenta, and yellow.

But wait! Let’s go back to the basic steps above and answer the questions:

What other colors are near the study color (yellow)?

In the garden, I saw blue and magenta near the yellows, but also green.

Are the nearby colors lighter, darker, or similar in tone to your color?

The magenta is darker than the yellow, but they seem to have the same saturation. They’re brilliant. The blue and greens seem paler and recede from the brilliance of the yellow.

Do you see shadows or highlights that enhance the study color?

There are some shadows in the greenery, but to me they don’t enhance the yellow.

What are the proportions of the various colors?

In the bouquet, the proportions of yellow, magenta, blue, and green are roughly the same.

intarsia sample of wildflower colors

Instead of using a pattern with rigidly spaced repeats, I went for randomly colored intarsia squares. I love this sample!

Really, it’s one of my favorite samples and I have wanted to expand this idea into a project for a while—I knitted the sample in 2006. But what would I make?

Within the past year, I think I have settled on a project.

Poet Sandi Horton (read one of her poems here) has written several pieces for my Celebrate Doilies exhibit. She sent me a few as inspiration for a wall hanging. Her poem “Texas Hillside” describes these flowers almost exactly, and someday I’ll make a randomly-colored intarsia check wall hanging about it.

Next time: Consult the Experts.

How Color Happens

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

Filet Center-or-Not and two Large Ray Flowers from Crochet Bouquet

Even as a kid, I noticed and admired color. I must have been seven or eight years old, when I decided to study it. Ever since, that’s what I’ve done.

the scraps that inspired the flower colors

Color inspiration happens all the time, if you just watch for it. I was weaving yarn ends in a few days ago, piling the trimmings together. I glanced at the pile, and wow! The combination of peach and dusty coral and burgundy took my breath away.

I had to crochet some flowers in those colors right away. First, I looked carefully at the scrap pile, to see the proportions of the colors. There was a lot of peach and coral, some variegated yarn, and just a tiny bit of burgundy. Proportions are important.

Large Ray Flowers (page 31) and a Filet Center-or-Not (starts on page 21 of Crochet Bouquet) were perfect for a multi-color experiment. You can change colors however you want, either following the pattern, or following your own instinct.

And when your color instinct talks, listen to it! You’ll find color inspiration in all kinds of places.

Speaking of inspiration, how about this flowery tractor? We saw it in Knox City, Texas.

flower tractor in Knox City, Texas