Knitting in Color: Choosing Colors for Your Knitting Project

Posted by on Jul 30, 2014 in Knitting |


Knitting with multiple colors can sometimes seem a little bit scary. If you’re new to working with more than one color per row, multiple colors might be overwhelming. There’s managing the yarn, maintaining tension, and perhaps one of the scariest, choosing the right colors. Whether the knitting with color is for your or a gift, a little know-how can make selecting the right colors a tad simpler.

Here are a few helpful tips for choosing the right colors for your knitting projects.

Sleep on it.

If you happen to have the yarn you are considering in hand and at home, set them up somewhere (preferably a heavily traveled area in your home) together and see how you feel about the color combination after a day or two. You can try rearranging the yarns and adding or removing a color. You may find that after looking at the colors a few times that your are either enjoying the combo or hating it. Go ahead and try a few new colors together or wind up and get knitting!

Color wheels are your friend!

As a very visual person, I love using a color wheel to help me decide what colors might look nice together. This is also handy for when you are out at the yarn store, pull up an image of a color wheel on your phone to help you decide which hues would go with your main color.

Rainbow wheel of yarn

There are a few ways to use the color wheel to help with your yarn choices. If you are looking for complimentary colors you can try choosing colors that are across from each other on the color wheel. This would give you a good amount of contrast while still complimenting the main color. Analogous colors are colors that are next to each other on a regular color wheel (not the fun yarny kind). That means you will be choosing tones of the main colors. This would be great if you are looking for a gradient or tonal look.

Put a neutral on it.

If you have one color you already plan on using, add a neutral. This can be any shade of white, cream, taupe or brown you can think of! Even blacks and grays are neutrals, so find one that fits the mood of the piece and go for it.

Kite Runner Knit Pillow

Kite Tails via Craftsy member MegRoke

Know your recipient.

I’ve come to terms with the idea that in general, gift knitting can’t always be secret knitting. If you are knitting for someone you need to know some sizing specifics — and if they’re over the age of 2 they might wonder why you’re pulling the tape measure out anytime they look away. When choosing colors for a gift piece, ask about favorite colors, or even the color of their coat. This will give you a good idea of what colors may or may not be suitable for your recipient.

The main goal of knitting with color is to have fun! When you’re ready to adventure into color, try the Craftsy class Shawlscapes. Stephen West dedicates a whole section of the class to choosing the right colors for your project.

I tend to have a couple go to colors and neutrals I like to work with when doing colorwork. Do you adventure into color much? What is a color combo you’re looking forward to trying?