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Collect Your Favourite Colour Combos

January 28, 2016

One of the hardest things about knitting, for many people, is choosing colours. And when more than one colour is invited to the party (for colourwork, brioche, stripes, or colour blocking), things can get even hairier!

What can a colour-clueless knitter do?

The bumble beanie (slip-stitch), clayoquot cardigan (fair-isle), and bounce blanket (stripes).

The Bumble Beanie (slip-stitch), Clayoquot Cardigan (fair-isle), and Bounce Blanket (stripes+lace)

Our top tip for colour is “Don’t reinvent the wheel… just steal!” Since we’re lumping ourselves into the ‘great artists’ category, I’ll mention that we stole this idea:

Good artists copy, great artists steal. – Pablo Picasso
The difference between a bad artist and a good one is: the bad artist seems to copy a great deal; the good one really does. – William Blake

collect a colour file

Instead of starting with a blank canvas, have a bank of combos to choose from. Collect a file of colour combos that you know you love, and have seen on the internet or found out in the world.  Then when you begin a new project, all you have to do is refer to that file, and see which colour combo you’d like to try to replicate / reproduce / remix in your next project.

I came up against this ‘blank page’ dilemma this last weekend, when I was selecting colours for my new project for the #TCKnewtricksKAL that’s running in our Ravelry group (wanna join?!).  I pulled out ALL MY STASH (the result was a massive mess)… looked at it, then gave a kind of sad and apathetic moan.  Leaving the mess to fester and become a tangled nest of cat hair and toddler slobber, I retreated to the calm and quiet beauty of The Internet, knowing it would hold the answers to my dilemma.

great colour combos

Success!  The result is our newest Pinterest board, chock full of Great Colour Combos!

One great source of inspiration can be found by following creatives who work in colour.  Indie dyers are a great place to start.  For example, we always drool over Tanis Fiber Arts’ ‘Mood Board Mondays’ blog posts and Pinterest board.  Each week she focuses on a colourway or concept and crafts a mood board all about it.  She’s a true artist and experienced maker of colour and colour combinations!  Here’s ‘Nova Scotia Sunset’ – just one of dozens of mouth-watering mood boards.

current favourite combos

So without further ado, I’ll let the pictures do the talking.  Here are some colour combos I’m currently obsessed with for your viewing (and stealing!) pleasure.

Teal on teal, teal + green, and teal + grey:


Image credits: knitgraffiti’s Coral Reef, Vevka’s Amsterdam Stripes Shawl, tincanknits’ Playdate, and a hat swatch in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘scorched fern’ and ‘snow melt’

Peaches, oranges, pinks… combined with neutrals:

Hot Hot Hot colours + grey (you really can’t go wrong…!):

Oranges + teals:

The whole orangey red + teal thing, yeah, I know… It’s not a new obsession.  The colour palette for our 2013 lace collection, Handmade in the UK, was all about the orangey red and shades of teal… but these colours just never get old for me!

Know a knitter who’s struggling with colour choices?  Click the links below and share this post!  Or perhaps if you’re planning to join in and Learn Something New this year, colourwork will be an area where you experiment, challenge yourself, and add to your knitting expertise!  If you’re ambitious, join our #TCKnewtricksKAL now!

Tin Can Knits on FacebookTin Can Knits on Instagram Tin Can Knits on Twitter Tin Can Knits on Pinterest Tin Can Knits Email Updates button-ravelry-40

7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 8, 2018 6:14 am

    I love knitted things so I like everything that is done by my own hands, it’s so cool!

  2. February 3, 2016 4:48 am

    Oh my goodness! My eyes are having a party!

  3. Alice permalink
    January 31, 2016 12:08 am

    I also love this website for playing around with colour combinations –

  4. cj425 permalink
    January 28, 2016 10:01 pm

    I use this site mostly for graphic design, but it’s great for fiber arts, too! There’s a free database of millions of color palettes to help when you’re in a pickle:

  5. January 28, 2016 11:33 am

    If I have time, I like to take pictures of the colors of yarn I’m consideringand turn them black and white. That helps me judge whether the contrast will work together (similar to the pictures at the top of your post). If I don’t have time, looking at them side by side while squinting is a good approximation.

  6. January 28, 2016 7:46 am

    Thank you for choosing my project in your blog – I am honoured:-) I am just about to cast on Flax – making my gauge now:-)

  7. January 28, 2016 6:32 am

    This is such great inspiration! I think I see another “brights on grey” colourwork project in my future.

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