I’ve seen friends of mine talking recently about difficulties in choosing color combinations. These are some books that I hope might provide some good ideas, both with choosing colors and with different techniques for working with multiple colors in knitting.
The Essential Guide to Color Knitting Techniques, by Margaret Radcliffe. Storey Publishing. ISBN 978160342040
The Essential Guide to Color Knitting Techniques starts out with basic information about the color wheel, how neighboring colors affect each other, and some ways of testing yarn color combinations. Lots of books include this information, but it’s a good idea to have access to the theory somewhere. Radcliffe then moves on to what I consider the really valuable parts of the book: how to play with color in textured stitch patterns, how to work with different kinds of multicolor yarns to best effect, and in-depth information about how to work stranded knitting, intarsia, twined knitting, and other techniques. If I could only have access to one book about knitting and color, I think I’d pick this one.
One of my favorite ways of choosing colors (if I’m not limited to choosing from yarns that are at hand) is to look around me for something that has color combinations I like already, whether a piece of fabric, the view out my window, or a picture. The next three books all have examples of this, and I suspect this might be a more helpful method for choosing colors for some people than the color wheel. You might also want to look at the Color Exercises I did a few years back to get some ideas for software to help with this.
Color from the Heart: Seven Great Ways to Make Quilts with Colors You Love, by Gai Perry.
“What?” I imagine you saying, “a quilt book?” Yes, a quilt book. I learned more about working with color from this book than anywhere else, and I am certain that there’s a lot that anyone can learn from it. For instance, she shows that if you’re combining a lot of different blues in a project, throwing in the occasional blue-green or violet will still give an overall impression of blue. She discusses some ways of working with regular color theory as well as pulling color combinations from things that you like. There are exercises that I suspect can be used for scrap knitting (sock yarn blankets!) as well as scrap quilting. If I could only have two books about working with color, this would be the second.
Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting, by Alice Starmore. Dover Books. ISBN 9780486472188
I’m including this not only for Starmore’s instructions on how best to arrange colors in traditional Fair Isle colorwork, but also because she talks about how she pulls color combinations out of photographs and her surroundings and provides examples.
Knitting Color: Design Inspiration from Around the World, by Brandon Mabley. Sixth & Spring Books. ISBN 9781933027074
The beginning of this book is Mabley’s suggestions for pulling colors out of pictures that the student likes and also about swatching (not gauge swatching – just learning to put colors together). I think I’d recommend getting this book from the library and then purchasing it if the book as a whole inspires you.
How about you? What books about working with color would you recommend?