The Value Of Colour February 6, 2014 – Posted in: How to, Thursday This and That

If you have done Colourwork in knitting before, and I mean using more than one colour in one piece of knitting, you might have realized that the colours you picked worked differently together than imagined. I don’t mean a striped sweater in navy and white – hello, Mariner or Marinière – which is a perfectly fine combination, I mean the more subtle ways of combining different hues.
It all depends what you want. There is the possibility of high contrast, as the navy and white would suggest. Then we have the option of mixing different hues altogether, let’s pretend yellow, green and blue.
If you have no clue how the colours will work together, here is a tip: Check the value. No, I don’t mean the price tag, what I am talking about is the lightness or darkness a colour posesses, which in return is an indication of how it will stand out – or not – in the finished knitted piece. You might be surprised by the outcome!
I, for one, learned this from a quilter. For that particular purpose I purchased a colour tool that included a red screen, which you look through to check the value of your chosen fabric or, in our case, yarn. Now, I am not sending you out on a hunt for this tool, in this wonderful time of technology it is totally not necessary – unless you do not have

  • a digital camera or
  • a cell phone with a camera
  • any other device that lets you take digital pictures

To check the value of your chosen colours, take a picture. Wait, there is a bit more to it! To get proper readings you have to change the settings of the camera on ‘black and white’ or edit it to that setting after you took the pic. Then check your colours again. If they are about the same shade of grey, you won’t get a standout performance – heh, get what I’m saying? If they are clearly distinct from each other, meaning one looks like a really pale gray, the other one almost black – then we are back to the high contrast play like navy and white together, even if it is yellow and red you chose.

Colour B&W comboI don’t know if this proves a point, yet it is an example of what I was talking about. Would you have thought the blue so dark in comparison with the green?

Try that the next time you are worried one colour will stick out too  much – or not enough. It’s easy to do and worth the small effort!
Happy Knitting, as ever!
– Mona