It’s Plaidscape week here at Holla Knits! We are going to take a closer look at this plaid cape with styling posts AND the pattern is 50% off this week. That’s right! Grab this super fun pattern for only $3 this week only.
From Designer Jennifer Dassau: Plaid is powerful, but with great power comes great responsibility – and the need to choose three (or more!) colors that work well together. Often you’ll have a favorite color or one already available, and there are lots of color design tools online . . . but how exactly do you decide which colors to use together?
Start by looking at the color wheel and traditional color schemes. Complementary color schemes use colors that are across from one another, like red & green. Split complementaries pair the colors to either side of one of the complements with the color across from it, like blue, yellow-orange & red-orange. Triads are composed of colors spaced at equal distances apart around the wheel, like the primaries red, yellow & blue. Analogous schemes utilize colors that are next to each other, like red, orange & yellow.
Allyson’s Plaidscape pairs complementary green & red, then adds a pop of lighter, brighter yellow.
Pull together three colors using any of these standards, and you might find a combination that is pleasing to the eye; but you might also just end up with a visually boring, or even jarring result. A successful color scheme needs more than just hues that “go together,” it needs visual nuance and excitement. That’s where color theory comes in, and the different characteristics of color.
Hue is what we think of as the color itself – red, or blue, for example. Start by using the color wheel, and perhaps some of the traditional schemes, to find hues that look good together.
Rohn Strong’s Sothern pairs yellow with a pinky violet, then adds white and grey as neutrals.
Saturation is the strength or weakness of the color, and Value is its lightness or darkness. Matching together colors which all share the same saturation and/or value can result in an indistinct palette where the colors appear to run together. Certainly a successful scheme of all soft pastels or rainbow brights is possible; however, many times the end result will be more dynamic if you introduce some contrasts. In particular, pairing a lighter with a darker value color results in a visually interesting FO. A good way to compare value is to look at a greyscale picture of the yarns under consideration; it’s much easier to see value differences when the hue is removed.
Plaidscape – Greyscale’ed
Jennifer Dassau’s Plaidscape in greyscale shows light, medium and dark values.
Go for additional contrast by mixing higher and lower levels of saturation or brightness.
The medium greyscale value above is also the brightly saturated pink pop color.
A successful color scheme also often uses tints, tones and shades of color. Tints are created by adding white to a hue, shades by adding black, and tones by adding grey. Any traditional color scheme pulled straight from the color wheel will benefit by adjusting some of the colors so that the tint, tone and shade are not all identical for each color. A good example is the monochromatic color scheme, which uses different tints, tones and shades of the same hue.
Allyson Dykhuizen’s Umbre Lovre uses a monochromatic red color scheme of tints and shades, tied together with a neutral.
Likewise, use of the neutrals black or white (and their tints and tones) can help make the other hues really stand out. Keeping in mind that browns are tints and shades of orange also adds a whole potential range of neutrals.
Scallop of the Sea
Katie Canavan’s Scallop of the Sea uses complementary blue & orange with neutral greys, and a balanced mix of value and saturation.
So, picking a plaid might begin with one color you know you want to use; then finding harmonious colors using the color wheel. Vary the lightness and saturation of your choices, to see what works best, and use tints and tones for interest. Consider using a neutral, so that the end result isn’t too hectic and the other colors really have a chance to stand out. Then revel in your colorful plaid self!