A Colour Coward Like Me…

Introducing a new guest blogger!

Adriene is a knitter, writer, and yarn addict who lives with a cute dog named Rascal and an ever-patient hubby in Drumheller, Alberta. You can read about her adventures at her blog: Adriene’s Couch (http://adrienescouch.blogspot.ca).

“Why do two colours, when put next to each other, sing? Can one really explain this? No. Just as one can never learn how to paint.” – Pablo Picasso

I have little talent for putting colours together. I have a vague memory of an art lesson in elementary school about complimentary colours, about red and green going together, yellow and blue, purple and orange (that one confused me a lot), but I have no real understanding of what colours should and shouldn’t go together. The rebel in me says I should put together whatever colours I want… but the mirror tells me that this is often not the best idea.

With the likes of Stephen West, Romi Hill and all of the other designers with their beautiful two colour shawls gracing the knitting scene, it’s people like me who despair. We walk around and around the store, usually talking to anyone within earshot who will listen, pestering them with the phrase over and over:

“Do these two colours go together?”

Some things are no-brainers for me. For example, I picked up these two skeins at The Loop during one of my recent visits. Blue and blue. Both luxurious silk blends: Aslan Trends King Baby Llama and Mulberry Silk and Mirasol Nuna Merino Silk. They sit nicely together. They are pretty and shiny. They are destined to be friends.


Most of my other colour combinations are copycats from things I’ve glimpsed in magazines. Here’s a family of DROPS Alpaca that happened to be sitting in close proximity to each other in The Loop’s fingering weight section. The white and green Baby Alpaca Silk seem to work with the chocolate brown and red of the regular Alpaca, and I’m pretty sure I saw a Debbie Bliss pattern that used these colours together… or maybe it was a Hudson’s Bay blanket. I haven’t committed the yarn to a project yet, because I might just chicken out and work these into single skein projects. I’ve got my fingers crossed for now that some inspiration will hit me and my choice to put them together will be validated.

Or maybe I’ll end up with a Hudson’s Bay blanket look-alike…


Sometimes, my pairings are just ones that feel right… at the time. I’m sure I sat on the purple couch for least an hour in the store with these skeins of Fleece Artist and Viola DK, squinting and cocking my head from side to side like a confused boxer puppy, feeling certain they would work together. Months later, I am not so sure. Hours of scouring project ideas on Ravelry have yielded few possibilities. I think this is one I may back out of, unless someone gives me an injection of colour confidence soon.


Luckily, technology might be coming to my rescue. Before I starting writing this post, I looked for an app for my phone that might help me out. A search in Google Play for “color wheel” yielded a really cool app that I installed immediately onto my phone: Real Colors.

It is simple: you take a photo of a scene using your phone’s camera, or you select a photo that is already in one of your albums. The app creates a palette from the colours in that photo. And there you are: colours that occur together in a photo you already know you like. You can save the palettes, name them, and share them with others. This is perfect for people like me, who often end up in the store looking lost and bewildered, frantically swapping skeins until I get something I think I like.

Of course, the reality is that, once I’m in the store, the selection of pretty yarns is always overwhelming. An app may help me out in the planning, but the sensory overload of standing in front of a wall of soft, squishy, shiny yarn might override any prior design decisions. You may yet find me there on the couch, muttering quietly over a pile of skeins, holding them up two by two and squinting at them like a prospector panning for gold in the cold creeks of Alaska. Some people call that crazy.

I simply call it “yarn shopping.”



Categories: Guest Blog, This and That


A friendly local yarn store on Kensington Road. We are located on the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, and the people of the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.