The thing about colourwork is that it’s addictive. As the pattern unfolds with every row, you get hooked on seeing what’s going to happen next.
Making this hat (designed by the very talented Kate Davies) has got me thinking even more about colour than usual.
It’s a beautiful yarn, perfect for colourwork. The challenge for a designer lies in making a relatively limited palette (there are eight colours in Excelana so far) work in harmony.
When working with a limited colour range, or in fact, any colour range, there is a great trick for making it easier. I think I first read about it in Alice Starmore‘s seminal Book of Fair Isle Knitting, but it’s a widely used technique.
Simply take your colour range and put it into black and white.
The easiest way is to take a picture using the black and white setting on your digital camera, but I prefer to take it in colour and then desaturate it in Photoshop, so that I can refer back to it.
This allows you to see the relative light or dark values of the colours. By having this extra info, you can then easily avoid putting colours which are of the same light/dark value next to each other, where a lack of contrast would make the patterning hard to see.
After that, despite all the colour ‘rules’ you may have heard of, everything else is just a matter of taste.
Here’s what happens when you take the colours away…
Time to play!