Please don't take this the wrong way. It's not an indictment of your character, nor does it indicate whether or not I like you as a person.
But I hate football with the blinding passion of one thousand suns. The reasons are many. I will spare you the social commentary.
If you are a person who likes football, more power to you. You go right ahead and enjoy that. Just don't try to get me to partake, because I would rather do any of the following:
1. Stare at the back of my bedroom door.
2. Scrub pots.
3. Dig an 18"x18" hole in the ground and then fill it back in.
4. Assemble 26 entire alphabets from letters I clipped out of magazines.
5. Catalog 10,000 baseball cards.
Sadly for me, Minnesotans love football. My father and spouse love football. And that means I can never completely avoid the eyesore that is the Minnesota Vikings logo.
Fine. I'm being a hater. I can own it. Because of the Vikings (the football team, not the explorers), I have an aversion to the color combination of deep purple and bright yellow.
But I really shouldn't. Used correctly (not on a Vikings jersey), purple and yellow are amazing together.
Purple and yellow are complementary colors, meaning they're opposite each other on the color wheel. Complementary color combinations are very eye catching (hence the use of them in sports logos -- you want to be able to see the jerseys from way back in the nosebleeds). They're dynamic, energetic, and in the case of purple and yellow, a combination of elegant and fun.
Purple and yellow can be difficult to dye on the same skein of yarn. When mixed together in a transparent medium like dyes or watercolor paints, purple and yellow make a really ugly gray-brown. So unless that's your intention, you have to keep these colors from blending. That's part of engineering a colorway. If I want to use purple and yellow together, I need to keep them apart or add additional colors.
Yellow makes purple richer, and purple makes yellow even cheerier. Used alone, purple has a serious, mysterious, noble feel. But in conjunction with a spot of yellow, the mood becomes happier, livelier, and hipper. (Please bear in mind that I'm not making a value judgment about whether purple alone is better than purple and yellow together. These are just tools to help you make decisions for yourself.)
High contrast color combinations are often found in flowers, and some botanists feel this is to make it easier for flowers to be pollinated by birds and insects, and thus a way for them to reproduce.
I want you to especially look at this last example. The petals of this pansy are such a dark purple that they're almost black. Amazing. But what makes the flower -- what helps you see the true shade of the petals -- is that tiny bit of yellow in the center.
By comparison, here is the same picture, except I've Photoshopped out the yellow in the center.
Side by side:
What does this mean for your knitting, your clothing, your home? Here are my rules for using purple and yellow together:
1. A little goes a long way. Choose to focus on either the purple or the yellow, and accent it with the opposite color. Much like fashion magazines tell you to pick a feature to focus on -- your eyes or your lips -- but to walk around with a crazy amount of makeup all of your face can be a bit...let's go with...garish.
2. Use colors of varying saturations (or intensities). If you use a lot of dark purple and a lot of bright yellow, you're going to end up with a Minnesota Vikings sweater. Try pairing intense purple with a buttercream yellow. Or mimosa yellow with a lighter magenta. The brighter the accent color, the less you need to use of it.
3. Use clear hues with dirty ones. A clear hue is one in which little to no black (or brown) is added. On this color wheel, the colors on the outside of the wheel have more gray and brown added -- they're dirty. The colors in the middle have more white added, and the clearest colors on this wheel are on the 5th ring in from the edge.
Choose a bright lemon yellow and a red-violet with a bit of brown added. Or a smoky lavender with a spring yellow-green.
Here are some other palette ideas for you:
Does using purple and yellow together mean that you need to go home and paint your living room magenta and get yellow drapes? Of course not. Use them in measured doses based on your preferences. I love the way the bright shades work with the gray sofa here:
And how they pair with brown here:
Here are some knitting ideas for you, too:
I would love to see a sweater knit from a deep purple, like Enna:
With just one hint of bright yellow, like the edging on a button band.
To give you some further inspiration, I've created a Pinterest board dedicated to purple and yellow. You don't need a Pinterest account to see it, so click here to view. If you'd like an invitation to join, use the contact button in the upper right, include your email address, and I'll send one over.
Feel free to leave questions and comments on the items I've pinned (or here on the blog), and I'll be sure to answer.
So, to recap:
1. Football is the axis of evil.
2. Small amounts of a complementary color richen any palette.
3. Don't feel that you need to surround yourself entirely in complementary colors. Adding pops of purple and yellow to neutrals gives a similar effect without the Minnesota Vikings references.
4. Life is too short to knit with beige yarn.
Perhaps I drank too much Hatorade this morning, and need to back off on the Vikings. So long as you follow the purple and yellow rules, and don't try to knit yourself a jersey, I'll be happy.