Helene Knott enlightened us about how to use color in your knitting projects. She was gracious enough to put together her favorite resources, generators, and tools to help you play with color. Be sure to bookmark them! Take it from Helene:
For most of these digital sources, you upload a photo and the generator extracts a palette of predominant colors from the photo and provides swatches of those colors. Some will give you the HTML Color HEX codes (for developing websites), some also include RGB and/or CMYK codes (allowing you to find and recreate that color for various applications). But, all are useful to create color palettes.
Some require registering (free in most cases) to create an account that you can save your palette to for later reference. In all cases, you can always right click to create a screenshot of the palette you created.
Palettes (for iPad only)
This app is great! There is a limited free version but the Pro version is only $3.99 and worth every penny. It is one of the most useful apps I’ve found for creating a palette from an image because it allows you to select the colors you want rather than just generating dominant colors that the algorithm detects. You can create a palette of up to 25 colors, play with those colors using tools provided and then save and email the palette you created to yourself.
Color Grab (for Android only)
This is very close to the Palettes App for iPad, though not quite as versatile or easy to use (in my opinion). It too allows you to open a photo in the app and move a selector tool around the image and select colors to save to a palette then save the palette in a variety of formats. It also lets you point the camera at anything and select/identify the color seen in the focal point of the lens (this function is a bit more difficult to control).
This free generator includes the color HEX code and a proportional scale to show percentages of each color presented in the original photo. A slider allows you to increase the palette to up to 10 colors. To save your palette, you can right click on it and take a screenshot, then download that, copy and paste it into a photo editing program (like Photoshop) or save it to the Cloud.
Rather complex and not as easy to use as some of the other ones but a very thorough tool. You can choose how many colors you want it to extract and it gives you both RGB and HEX codes for the extracted colors. It will only work with low res (250KB and below) image files.
This generator creates a palette of 49 colors and will also give you three limited sample strips – a light, a medium and a dark palette drawn from the master palette. The palettes can be saved as CSS (for website development) or Photoshop files but you need to have CS4 or higher for the Photoshop version.
Color Code HEX Finder
This site allows you to put in the Color HEX code you get from a palette generator and it will provide the CMYK and RGB models to recreate that exact color for viewing on a computer screen (RGB) or for printing (CMYK). You type in the HEX code and it will generate all the related information along with some color design tools such as the color harmonies based on that color.
This tool does not allow you to extract colors from a photo; rather, it gives you some color charts from which to pick a starting color and an ending color. and then select how many steps you want to include in the blended transition and whether you need the HEX code, RGB or CMYK codes. The generator then creates a blended palette that bridges the two colors you selected; very cool!
Free to use and register, not as versatile as others.
Color Works by Deb Menz (ISBN-13: 978-1931499477)
There are doubtless plenty of books on knitting and color that I am not familiar with but this older book is quite a gem. It is a definitive examination of all the aspects of color theory applied to various art and craft projects. The beauty of this book is that it shows each application in the same design rendered in different media – quilting, paper collage, spinning, weaving, knitting, beading, and embroidery (both hand and machine). This allows you to see the interaction and effect of color as it would pertain to all these different mediums. The book is out of print but readily available on Amazon from third party sellers, though the price of it varies wildly from about the original list price to ridiculously expensive copies. It is well worth investing in if you find one at a reasonable price.
Other Online Resources
Following is a list of interesting websites having to do with exploring color in a variety of ways.
Color and marketing plus many interesting facts about color and perception.
Smithsonian Libraries: Color in a New Light
The history and science of color study.
Brain Den: Color Illusions
Optical illusions based on color.
Article on Synesthesia
What Is Synesthesia and What's It Like to Have It
Articles About Color and Language
The Way You See Colour Depends on What Language You Speak
You Only See Colors You Can Name
Articles About Color and Psychology
Color Affects: Psychological Properties of Colours
Art Therapy Blog: Psychological Effects of Colors
Article on Color and Marketing
8 Creative Examples of the Use of Color Psychology in Marketing
Do you have any favorite tools or interesting articles to share that aren't on this list?
With 131 wonderful members and counting, we want to give each of you a moment to shine. In our first Member Spotlight, meet Board Treasurer Gina Easley. You may have been greeted by her smiling face as you arrived at Guild meetings.
Why do you knit?
I learned how to knit as a child out of boredom. My mother taught me two stitches in English style: knit and purl. I took it from there. Fast forward a decade or two: after college I was working in mental health. I started knitting more frequently as a way to reduce stress. It was also a much less self-destructive means of coping. I have a couple of misshapen color-work sweaters from this period of my life‒the sweaters are not quite wearable but I keep them around as a reminder.
When I switched careers knitting became a destination, a joyous activity, something you can do when you feel good‒not just as an escape. I use it to connect with other people, to explore my creative side. I love being around wads of color smooshiness and turning it into something wearable.
Favorite place to knit:
My porch, with a nice breeze and a glass of bubbly water.
What do you want to learn more about in knitting?
I am curious to learn about what knitting meant to people before me and people living in other places.
Tell us about some project highlights:
Orange Knit's Saturate Shawl a.k.a. The First Time I Blew Money On Nice Yarn
This is the first well-made large project I ever completed and the first time I realized there is value in paying for a knitting pattern as they are often very well thought out and often times a designer is willing to give you a moment of their time if you get stuck.
Tin Can Knit's Prairie Fire Pullover
I dyed the skeins in Kool Aide, knitted it up without alternating skeins, then over-dyed the whole thing in Rit dye. I love the deep purple- but still exemplifies why alternating skeins is usually important
Orange Knit's Santa Clara Sweater
I liked the subtle texture throughout and the bauble stitch- it used up a bunch of fingering weight yarn I had from prior project. Mara is a helluvah pattern writer.
Do you want to be featured in a Member Spotlight post? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org or let one of your friendly board members know at the next meeting!
Our July meeting was once again packed with wonderful knitters and programming, including Helene Knott’s presentation “Speaking in Color.”
About TKGA (The Knitting Guild Association)
Members Hilary, Sue, and Lesli shared the benefits of being a part of TKGA, The Knitting Guild Association. It’s the only national non-profit dedicated specifically to knitting.
TKGA membership is only $25 a year, and gives you access to their Correspondence Courses and Mini Courses; the certification programs like the Master Hand Knitter Certification and the Technical Editor Certification (which Hilary Forrest has completed), tons of technical information, their monthly newsletter, and Cast On magazine. The quarterly publication is currently in digital format, but members can request back issues that came in print.
There’s also a TKGA Ravelry group to get you started. The group was generous enough to donate a free membership, which was raffled off to member Emily Rogers!
Collaborating with amazing women is pretty much our favorite thing to do EVER, so when the Puddletown Knitting Guild suggested that we create a KAL project for their group, we squealed out loud. Being able to create a fun and airy summertime shawl project pairing Knitted Wit’s newest Fairy Floss and Victory Sock, in the same magical-creature-inspired colorway, was a dream come true.
Puddletown Shawl KAL with Fiber Besties
Dressed in their most fabulous frocks, Shannon Squire (Shannon Squire Designs) and Lorajean Kelley (Knitted Wit) announced their knit-along and invited us all to Yarn Prom.
If you’re looking for a project, the Puddletown Shawl KAL is the perfect light and airy lace pattern for the mohair Fairy Floss, Knitted Wit’s newest base. If you didn’t get a chance to purchase the kit, check out Knitted Wit’s Etsy shop.
Wear your shawl or favorite summer knit to Yarn Prom, August 4th at their studio, 19959 East Burnside. Doors open at 5 p.m., with a DJ spinning at 7. Attendance is free. Bring your projects, pals, and party vibes.
July’s Program: The Basics of Color Theory with Helene Knott
Handcrafters, from knitters to scrapbookers, dyers to quilters, can make their projects sing with color. Quilter Helene Knott shared her expertise in color theory with us for our July program.
Trained as a painter, Helene has a deep appreciation for and understanding of the nuanced play of color in visual arts. And, as Helene states, you don’t need talent to experiment with color.
Helene posed a simple yet interesting question to us--what is color? We rarely stop to think about it. As she states, color is energy. Cones in our eyes interpret wavelengths of red, blue, and green. Each of us has a different amount of cones, so everyone sees colors a little differently. Yet, there are still guidelines to help inspire your own designs.
This is a tool knitters can use that shows the relationships between colors.
Color Harmonies from the Color Wheel
There are six standard color harmonies, and Helene shared with us a seventh of her own. From the simple or minimalist monotones and complementary harmonies, to the “Grateful Dead” harmony, and then to Helen’s “Bent Complementary” that has the artist choose a color and select a wheel wedge to the right or the left of the true complementary, there are many gorgeous ways to inspired your project.
How to Find the Value of a Color
Value is how light or dark the quality of a color is.
Put color swatches on a grayscale with numbers assigned to each swatch. See where your swatch “disappears” into the gray. For example, try taking a black-and-white photo of colored yarns that you think contrast well, and the grayscale will show you whether there's a real contrast or just a difference in color.
Josef Albers, artist and foundational educator in Modern Art, taught that color changes character by the company it keeps. That’s why some surprising results may occur when pairing yarns that are amazing on their own. Helene stated that we could get away with even using a different dye lot as long as it was partnered with another color that “tricks” the eye into perceiving sameness among different lots.
If you’ve ever knitted a stranded or intarsia pattern, but failed to make your motif stand out, it may be the proportion of your contrast color. On the other hand, some fun can be had in playing with proportion, such as a fade effect with two colors that shift gradually in proportion.
If you’ve ever come across an amazing photograph on Pinterest or found a unique graphic that you want to translate into a colorwork project, there are many sites and apps that can help you extract the color swatches in order to create a strategy. We’ll be posting her full list of recommendations soon!
What colors do you think you’ll experiment with now?
Be sure to come on August 9 for "Change the Gauge." Member Nele Redweik will tell us how we may use the yarn our heart desires and find the fit of our dreams.