Color is the place where our brain and the universe meet.
Paul Klee, Swiss Expressionist painter 1879-1940
Color – It surrounds us and plays a significant role in nearly every aspect of our lives. It affects our emotions, moods and desires. Color tells us what to do, “Stop at the red light”. How we feel, “Boy she’s got the blues” and how our finances are doing, “Thank goodness we’re in the black this month!” Advertisers use it to sell their products and to create brand recognition – we all know what color a can of Coke is. It's even used to demonstrate excellence as we saw at the recent Olympics where everyone was going for the gold!
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Can you imagine if our world was devoid of color? A black and white existence? In the movie Pleasantville the main characters find themselves trapped in a black and white TV show set in the seemingly idyllic 1950’s. It’s only when they begin to experience raw emotions and raise questions about what lies beyond what they know that we see color brighten, enhance and expand their world.
When I decided to write about color I didn’t have a real plan. As I began my research it became clear that there was a lot of information available. With so many qualified experts only a click away it seemed silly for me to try to educate you on the many facets of color. Instead, I decided to share with you some of the information that I found interesting and useful to me as a crafter.
Harmony and the Wheel
I am quite taken with the color wheel. To me it represents the science of color, and I can relate to the orderly way it presents information and options. After just a bit of study I can talk with (some) confidence about hue, tint, tone and shade. I know the difference between warm and cool colors. Color harmony or themes however struck me as an incredibly important concept, and it seems that an understanding of this would be useful in working with granny or any project.
The original color wheel is attributed to Sir Isaac Newton in 1704 which he discovered through his experiments with light and prisms. It provides us with several formulas for creating balance and harmony. I imagine that we use them often without realizing there is a name for our choices!
Here is a list of the most common themes and how they're made:
Monochromatic – use various values within the same color family
Analogous – 3 or more colors side by side on the wheel
Complimentary or Direct Complimentary – are colors that appear opposite each other on the wheel
Split Complimentary – one color paired with 2 colors on either side of the color's direct complement creating a theme containing 3 colors
Double Compliment – 2 sets of complimentary colors that sit next to and across from each other on the wheel forming an X
Tetrad – 4 hues equal distance from one another forming a square or rectangle on the wheel
Diad – 2 colors located 2 steps apart on the wheel skipping the color in between
Triad – 3 colors equally spaced apart from one another forming an equilateral triangle on the wheel.
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I made these squares to demonstrate different ways to create harmony. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about the purple, orange and green, but the wheel doesn’t lie, and in fact it has grown on me! In addition to the themes the wheel generates, nature is an outstanding source for telling us what colors go together. A walk in the woods, a sunrise or sunset, plants and animals - they all offer us suggestions for making the most of our colors. When you think about it, nature is the true source of our color - sun reflecting through drops of water to create a rainbow, and dyes made from plants are at the root of all we enjoy today!
Granny in Color
Grannies are excellent for experimenting with color. Making a square with potential colors for a project is a good way to see if they’ll live harmoniously or create a disturbance. It’s interesting to see how different colors effect one another. Take a look at these four squares. They all have the same blue center, but the outside color makes each one look and feel different. The placement of colors is important. Deciding what goes where will have a big impact on your project.
There are patterns for granny projects that use color in many ways. In pastels for babies, primary colors for kids and in varying shades to create an ombre effect. I’ve seen blankets that look like vibrant stained glass windows and that resemble a garden of wildflowers. I noticed on Pinterest
that white is a popular boarder color, while the blankets from my childhood were done with black. If you’re designing your own afghan it can be hard to decide which color goes where. Creating random balance is harder than it seems! Check out The Granny Square Color Pattern Generator
. Choose your colors (using a color wheel!), the number of colors per square and the number of squares in your blanket. Voila! It generates a pattern that is aesthetically pleasing - no spread sheets required!
In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. We think about who we’re making the project for, how they will use it. What feeling are we trying to covey? Warm and cozy, bright and energetic, young and fresh or classic and timeless. The possibilities are as endless as our imagination.
Spending time learning about color has been a great experience. It has opened my eyes and made me curious. I’m interested in trying new combinations and expanding my horizons beyond my comfort zone. And granny is just the girl for me. With so many different ways to make the square, it is a small canvas where I can create with any colors I want. No matter what the wheel says!
Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope that you enjoyed my adventures in color as much as I did and maybe you have been inspired to do some exploration on your own. Some of the sites that I used are:
, and The Psychology of Color
I’m a member of the Come Blog-A-Long
group on Ravelry
and The Granny Square Project is my contribution to a Year of Projects. We’re all working on different things and come together once a week to share our stories. Please stop by to see what everyone has been up to.
If you’re interested in reading more about The Granny Square Project I’ve placed buttons on my sidebar for easy browsing.
Please join me next time for Part IV – Granny Flowers.
Until then friends I hope your day is filled with color! Be blessed and stitch & read with love!