Creativity Exercises for Fiber Artists to Get Out of a Color Rut

Are you finding yourself using the same fiber and yarn colors over, and over in your projects? Stuck in a world of 50 shades of purple? When was the last time you tried using orange? Are you finding yourself becoming bored with same color syndrome?

Here are some ideas for getting you out of that color rut.

Sunset over a River in Oregon

Idea #1: Go outside.

One of the best ways to get out of a color rut is to look around you in nature and find combinations of colors that you wouldn’t consider putting together.  Neon yellow feathery clouds against a dusty pink and blue summer sunset, or the bright red of a Maple tree on a dreary fall day.  Try adding black to your color combination, or white, or grey to separate the colors and make them pop!  Colors inspired by nature will always create gorgeous, unexpected, yet timeless blends for your projects.

A pile of random colors of fiber for carding

Idea #2: Close your eyes.

Often when I am carding art batts, I find myself gravitating to the same color combinations.  To break yourself out of your comfort zone, try closing your eyes and carding fibers blind.  Or if you’re shopping for yarn, have a friend pick a colorway for you to work with.  At my last spinning class my friend and I carded art batts and traded them so we could work with each others colors.  It’s so refreshing to work with colors you aren’t used to seeing in your work!

Idea #3: Add a little bit of ugly.

One of my personal color theories is to add one color that I consider “ugly” into every project I make.  I find that this unexpected, often opposing color compared to all my preferred colors adds a fresh organic element to my work that makes it sing and frees it from my own ideas and expectations of what looks good together.

Idea #4: Swap with a friend.

At a recent yarn spinning class I found myself bored by every color I chose.  It all felt the same.  So I asked a friend to blend a batt of fibers for me to spin, and I blended one for her.  Having someone else choose colors for you can help you appreciate new color combinations without you needing to think about doing it yourself.

Idea #5: Find inspiration in art.

Look at famous works of art, consider a color palate inspired by Monet or Picasso.  Or look at art prints and spin a yarn inspired by a photograph.  That’s what I did for this tutorial.

1. I started with a photo I found on ETSY of the Milky Way.

Milky Way Photo by Jon Bilous Photography on ETSY

Milky Way Photo by Jon Bilous Photography on Etsy

2. Then I took a blended art batt that I thought and felt represented the colors in the photo to spin into yarn.

Blend of Fibers by Atomic Blue on ETSY

Blend of Fibers by Atomic Blue on Etsy

3. And here is the finished result!


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