Through all of my crochet endeavors, the question that I get asked the most is “how do you create your color placement design?” Well, I join each hexagon as I make it so that the blanket grows in a completely organic manner.
I find color inspiration in nature (flowers, insects, the sky), and designers/artists (fashion, home décor, web design). Wild Olive blog has a great article on choosing colors – it is for embroidery, but let me tell you, I almost exclusively get inspiration from non-crochet sources. The more varied your inspiration sources, the fresher and more unique your pieces will be.
For the Geometric Lace blankets, I typically start with five or six main colors (sometimes multi-color, sometimes monochrome) and I make one complete hexagon in the most representative shade of each.
I play around with those five or six “prototype” hexes, arranging them to get the best color flow. For example, the reference photo below represents a blanket with a color in each corner, and green in the center.
To blend colors, I use lights next to lights and darks next to darks. I try to use every shade I have of a color, even if it means some colors have only one hexagon.
I make sure to think about the color distribution and that each color has a similar amount of real estate on the blanket. For example, if there are four colors, one in each corner, I would keep in mind the midpoints of the four sides and try to transition to the next color around the midpoint. Of course this is purely optional.. I think an uneven distribution would be lovely – when you’re working with so much color harmony, the result is always beautiful.
When I play with blending color, I consider it as being a very large scale pointillism piece. The details of a pointillism piece are lost in the close up. It’s when you stand back to view the art that it becomes a full picture.
(I recommend you spend the time to click and read every tab at the third link above!)
I have two basic blends: monochrome and multicolor.
With this technique, you should take out all of your shades of that color and focus on putting lights next to lights and darks next to darks. I rarely put two of the same color next to each other, but sometimes it is necessary to do so. Try to include some very dark areas and some white or light cream areas to create visual interest and to add movement; however, I’m sure a blanket made entirely with colors that are very close in shade would look great – art is art!
Sometimes you have many yarns that are close in shade – these yarns will be relatively easy to blend. Then you’ll have a really dark color that you have to blend in, like the dark blue and the dark turquoise in the photo above. When you have to blend a dark color in, space out some of those motifs around the edges to create a visual gradation.
For a multicolor piece, you can have main monochrome areas of the same color – like how I have a color in the four corners of the piece above, with green in the center – then blend them where they meet. Incidentally, this is the blanket that came from the reference photo above with the five miniature hexagon colors! To see where to begin blending, I visually measured the center of the sides and tried to use that as my borderline. At those midpoints, you can add shades that are “between” the two main colors. For example, at the bottom of the photo above, you can see that I have dark pink in one corner and deep purple in the other, so I added rosy purples at the midline to create a blended look.
The center color green is blended by sprinkling green motifs around the center amongst the outer colors. Try to put darker shades with darker colors, and lighter shades with lighter colors.
Many times, I use both monochrome and multicolor blending techniques in my pieces.
Symmetric or no?
There is something about a non-symmetric piece that really reaches out to me. Sometimes I feel like its better for the eye to move through a piece rather than be presented with a predictably symmetric piece. Here is a blanket that I made where I did not blend colors at all.. I just arranged it like one would a flower bouquet – by feeling it out..
The “guidelines” that I gave myself with this well-balanced piece were to blend from dark orange in one corner to cream in the other corner, moving from orange to tan, and then have the accent colors appear in the other two opposing corners.
Do not be afraid of color! Over-thinking will suck the creativity out of the process. Have fun with it and remember that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel at first. Inspiration comes not just from within yourself, but from an infinite amount of external sources, so reach out and get inspired!