Here's a chart (turned sideways) from The Art of Color by Johannes Itten, illustrating the relative shades and tints of the twelve hues plus gray:
And here is my "Garden Bed" afghan, part of a collection of pieces inspired by lessons of the color masters:
The motifs are worked in the round, joining as you go, in a worsted weight yarn.
I'm not satisfied with the big holes between the shapes, so I'm going to try it in a dk weight yarn, which would require more motifs, but make the spaces between the motifs smaller.I do like the way the colors flow in an organic way without looking like an obvious rainbow. It looks gorgeous laid out on a bed, hence the name "Garden Bed," a little pun.
Welcome to the National Crochet Month blog tour! I'm excited to share my love of crochet with you, and I'll be offering participants a free dog and cat pattern that includes a lesson in one aspect of color theory. (See end of post for details on how to get your free pattern).
We've all used crayons as kids--making color choices shouldn't be so complicated! So why did a skein of yarn I bought look bluish in the store, but greenish when I got it home? What made a nice pink appear to be a muddy beige when I paired it with a bright yellow? And why does everyone ask me if I'm feeling sick when I wear that pretty peach t-shirt?
For months, I researched and studied classic color theory--which usually involves mixing paint, not choosing from an unlimited supply of already dyed yarns--and I decided to break down some of what I learned and to share it with other crocheters. By following some simple patterns, we can explore color theory and color harmony, and be more confident in our color choices.
This first lesson explores contrast in color temperature. You probably already know that blues and greens and purples are associated with water, and clouds, and distant mountains, and are considered "cool" colors.
Reds, and oranges, and yellows are associated with fire and the sun, and are considered "warm" colors. But there are times when yellow or red can be considered cool or cold--think about a stick of butter or a scoop of strawberry ice cream. And you might not think blue or green can look hot, until you see a neon sign with those colors late at night. This pattern will help you to match up colors of different temperatures that contrast in a pleasing way.
In a previous post, I show some of the steps I have been taking to explore a different aspect in color theory. This one uses crocheted flowers--I'll write up a pattern for this, too--once I finish working it out!
The pattern for the dog and cat, along with the color lesson, will be available as a free download for a limited time--from April first to May first--then it will be for sale at my Ravelry store. If you email me
with "Free Hot Dogs" in the subject line, I will send you a link to the pattern at the end of the blog tour.
Someone sees something I've made of my own original design and asks how long it took me to make it.
I never know how to answer that question.
Once I get a design perfected, it might take me an hour or a day to make another one from scratch, but that doesn't feel like the right answer since it doesn't account for all the time I spent working out the design in the first place.
It starts with a mess, a lot of trial and error, ripping out, starting over again...
This is a pile of some of the separate pieces that I made, trying out an idea, and it's likely I'll toss them out and start all over again. This project is one of a series, part of a larger project that I have been working on, a way to explore color theory through crochet projects. The pieces themselves took a few days to a couple of weeks, but these aren't part of the finished work yet. I'm fooling around with yarn. at this point, looking to see how it behaves, and how the colors look against each other.
Before that, I was working out the concept.
On vacation with my husband a few months ago, we spent mornings relaxing in a coffee shop planning our day. While he read the newspaper, I worked out some ideas in my sketchbook. Over a two week period, I filled about 25 pages with notes and sketches.
Over the years, I've taken different art classes, and I've done a lot of research on my own, reading library books on art, color theory, and design.
I researched yarn companies, online and through industry catalogues, because I was looking for a particular kind of yarn, in a particular weight, in a wide choice of colors--and it had to be affordable so I could buy several dozen skeins in different colors.
More than once, I spent most of a day in a Japanese bookstore, going through all the crochet pattern books to find ones to help with inspiration for my designs. And of course, I needed to learn to interpret the international crochet symbols since I can't read Japanese. I learned about these Japanese pattern books from another crocheter at one of the many crochet conventions and workshops I've attended.
Then there are the colorful vintage plastic buttons I hunt for at flea markets and thrift shops. And those buttons don't clean themselves...
So, am I finished? These motifs are piled up, ready to be sewn together and made into pins, but I won't do that yet; I've got to come back after a day or so to look them over again with fresh eyes to make sure I am satisfied with the way it all looks, and that they will clearly illustrate the color lesson in the way I intend. And I'm debating about using a fabric stiffener--if I do and don't like the effect, I can't undo it, so I'd have to re-do the pieces.
Below is how the back will look when they are done--these I made just for practice, to try out sewing methods and to see if the pin backs will work properly with the motifs--and these are not part of what will be the final product.
These steps have all contributed to my design process. So where is the beginning? How long did this take? I have to think that all the years that I have been crocheting and perfecting my craft, all the observations and design experiments I've made, every book I read, every workshop and industry convention I attended, every museum visit or nature walk I have been on, and every question that has made me curious to enough to explore, have all brought me to this.
So, if you ask me how long this took me, and I tell you it has taken me my whole life, well, you'll know what I mean.