Suggestions for Choosing Yarn Colors from Brett Bara

Posted by on Jul 23, 2013

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Choosing the perfect yarn colors can be an intimidating task for those new to crochet, or even those who struggle with finding the right combinations. Brett Bara, crafter and author of "Crochet At Home: 25 Clever Projects for Colorful Living," shares her insider knowledge for choosing yarn colors for your next knitting or crochet project.

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What are your current favorite color combinations? What draws you to them?

I'm obsessed with neons right now, combined with black, white and grey. I love a pop of a very bright color against neutrals — it just looks happy and fresh to me! I made a black, white and grey quilt that hangs in my dining room with a hot pink light fixture in front of it. I love it!

What are some common mistakes/fears beginners have when choosing colors? Any advice for overcoming?

Beginners seem to worry that they're going to choose the wrong colors, or a bad color combination. This is a super common concern and it's natural to feel that way, especially when you're going to invest so much time in your project — you want it to look good in the end!

I have a few pieces of advice for overcoming this. First, remember the color wheel! Any colors that are opposite each other on the wheel will look bold and vivid, but pleasing to the eye. Likewise, any three colors that form a triangle on the wheel are also guaranteed to look pleasing. I use this method constantly — it's no-fail! Second, use color inspiration. Find a photo that you love, whether it's flowers or a classic painting or the interior of a room. Then, just pull colors from that image. Someone, whether it's an artist or mother nature, has already pulled together a successful color combo, so why not use the same combo in your projects?! Third, make tiny projects where you can experiment with color without a big time investment. Motif afghans or small quilts are perfect for this — stitch up little things in different colors, and you'll begin to gain more confidence as you start to see what you do and don't like.

Have you always felt confident choosing yarn combinations?

Choosing yarn colors is just like choosing colors for anything else, and I use all the same guidelines as above. When I'm unsure about colors, crochet is the easiest way to go because it can be frogged so easily — if I change my mind, it's easy to pop out a few stitches or rows and start with a new color!

What do you do when, half way through a project, you realize you've chosen the wrong colors?

That's a tough one. If I haven't spent TOO much time, I'll usually start over. Even though I've invested some time, it will still be a waste to force myself to finish if I don't love the colors. If that's not an option, I might think about ways to temper the color choice, maybe by adding a trim or a stripe in another color. Finally, if I just don't love the color, I might give the finished item as a gift or even donate it. Even if I don't love it, someone else always will!

Image credits: Kazekobo, Kim Kotary, Brett Bara and Joe Hancock

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