My name is Sharon. Some people call me Yarnista.
Either is fine, but you should never call me late to dinner. I get cranky when I don't eat on schedule.
Today, I would like to talk to you about colors.
Colors are good. Colors add beauty to the world. They make our lives more enjoyable.
Some people are scared of colors. They think certain colors will make them look like they belong on the cast of Jersey Shore or Masterpiece Theater. (Or Masterpiece Theatre. The characters are equally pasty.)
I get many emails every day about colors. Which are a match made in heaven? Which are emissaries of the devil?
This leads me to believe that you may have questions about colors.
I am here to help.
I am on the left.
That's pretty much what my hair looked like today. I tweeted about it, in fact.
So, color is too broad a topic to cover in one eensy blog post. Today, we'll talk about two things.
The first is that colors do not need to match.
Let me repeat that. Colors that look good together do not have to match.
As Stacy and Clinton would say, outfits don't need to match, they need to go.
There is a difference.
Let's get over the idea that we need to find yarn colors that match each other for our projects. Instead, let's think about how using a different color, a color that enhances has a much greater visual impact than something that matches.
I teach a workshop on the Psychology of Color. Some of you may have taken it at Sock Summit. I'm teaching it again in October at Amazing Threads in the Twin Cities of Minnesota.
One of the first things we talk about is using complementary colors -- colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. Red and green. Blue and orange. Purple and yellow. Complementary color pairings are bold and dynamic. The colors bring out the best in each other. Opposites attract and all that.
These pictures that I'm showing you -- all badly photographed by yours truly at the Chicago Institute of Art -- all use complementary colors.
In fact, they all use the same combination of complementary colors: blue and orange. (Keep in mind that in color theory, brown is actually dark orange.)
And to great effect. All of these paintings, except maybe for the one of me above, use a rich blue with green undertones (I might describe it as a spruce color. But I'm from American Siberia, where we have a lot of spruce trees. Someday I will develop a class on the geography of color.)
(Someday, I might develop classes on all seven social sciences and their relationship to color.
Imagine opening your next Stitches booklet to the following listings:
Anthropology and Awesome Color 4U!
Coloronomics: The Hidden Side of Everything
More than Maps: The Geography of Rainbows
History's Color Mysteries
The Dude in the Red Tie Wins: Color in Politics
Knit Happy: The Psychology of Color in Knitting. [Wait, I've already done this...]
Sociologically Speaking: Pantone's Plot to Get Everyone to Wear the Same Thing [it's working...])
The orange that's used in these works varies from chestnut brown to fire red. It doesn't match the blue-green.
Notice how the Madonna's robes don't match the swaddling cloth. (In fact, look at the clothes that Mary's cousin Elizabeth is wearing. Complementary purple and yellow.)
One color sets off the other. The bright orange makes the blue richer. The blue makes the orange seem more regal, less jolting.
They don't match. They go.
These artists are some of the best the world has ever seen. Their work spans millennia. No one here is using matching blues or matching oranges. These artists didn't shy away from complementary colors because it might not match the interior decor of a benefactor or a pyramid.
Their use of color is what makes them the masters.
Are you feelin' what I'm sayin'?
Dynamic color choices separate the mediocre from the great. Why spend time knitting something mediocre if you don't have to? Why plan outfits -- or paintings, or anything, really -- that are just OK?
Forget "neutral" goes-with-everything beige. Beige is the antithesis of interesting. Stop knitting with beige. There's no reason for that.
"But I want a sweater that will match everything," you say.
And to that I reply, "Poppycock."
Poppycock because beige doesn't actually look good on anyone. Show me one skintone that is enhanced by beige.
Poppycock because the artists whose work hangs in world class museum collections were not painting subjects wearing beige clothing. (They might wear no clothing, but that's a different topic for a different day.)
Poppycock because if you knit one sweater that goes with everything, then you never need to knit another sweater. And what are you going to do with your time then? Read blogs?
Try the color combination of deep blue/green with orange, brown, or red.
But don't take my word for it. I am but a lowly Yarnista. If you won't listen to me, perhaps Renoir can be more persuasive.
Here are some yarn ideas to think about:
And you could come up with many more possibilities.
Stop thinking about matching, and start thinking about what enhances each color you're working with. Very often, it's something on a different part of the color wheel.
P.S. This is part one of a new ongoing series about color. Leave your questions for me in the comments, and I'll give you my $.02.