Choosing 3 colours, Help!

Do you have trouble picking colours? I do. Right now I’m trying to choose 3 colours for one more 3×3 cardigan testknit. Why do three colours always seem so much more difficult to pick than two? There is help out there and lots of it.

Variegated yarns. That’s the help. Hand dyed or commercially dyed, people who do dyeing know more about putting colours together than I do. So I’m going lean on their expertise.

Do you have another way of choosing colours? I’d love to hear about it (leave me a comment).

I have a bag of dark brown wool and I thought it was time to use some of it. But what to put with it? Brown is out of my normal colour range, which is blue, and I love orange too, if you haven’t noticed yet. But what goes with brown? Wait, don’t I have something in my stash that has brown in it? Of course I do.20191109_114418

Brown and several other colours too. Lots of choice there. I’m stash diving to see what else I might have to go with the brown. I found 3 balls of purple. Yay. Can’t go wrong with purple. Now one more colour. I wish I had the blue in this weight but I don’t seem to so I am going with black.20191108_102439

I think this combo might work out OK. This photo below is closer to the correct colours. 

I keep thinking I must have some blue somewhere. I’m off to search …

Ah, ha, here’s some. 

What do you think?  Do I go with Brown/Purple/Black  OR  Brown/Purple/Blue????



Any Gauge Patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever Books and Patterns

Author: debgemmellmods

I'm a Knitter. The capital K means every day, everywhere. I'm co-owner of Cabin Fever with my sister Lyn. We have published over 100 patterns and 11 books. I'm also working on a new set of patterns for Any Gauge knitting. Dive into your stash and cast on for a Top Down sweater that fits, or an accessory to use up those odd balls of yarn.

35 thoughts on “Choosing 3 colours, Help!”

  1. Brown, purple and blue, that way you will pick up the colours in the variegated yarn (if you’re using it too). Also, with your skin tone and hair colour I think the brown is softer for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Don’t know if my email reply came through..but I also vote for Brown,Purple, Blue. I think that combo would make it a bit more uplifting and colorful, while still being in season!
    corinne/aka teresa

    Liked by 1 person

  3. High contrast: acid green, metallic purple, gush is or sun yellow, any normally shocking color, not usually worn as a whole sweater color because it is too bright, but is interesting for a single row.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My thought is that there is not enough difference in the colour value between the black and the purple for either to stand out well. I took the picture and converted it to black & white, which is a recommended way of checking for colour value contrast. If there is not enough contrast in black & white, it is more likely the colours will look muddy in “real life knitting”. While you don’t have a picture of all three colours including the blue, I think the colour value of the blue would be better with the pink & purple than the black.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Deb,
    I vote for the Brown, Purple , Blue as well. Can’t wait to see the finished product. x
    Peg Bird
    (Ontario girl in Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’d go brown, purple, blue. Two complementary colors and a neutral. While brown and black are both neutral, they don’t quite complement each other (when it comes to pairing neutrals, brown I would pair with a white, cream, or beige; black I would pair with a white, cream, or gray). Purple and blue complement each other, even though they’re not opposite on the color wheel, since both colors are in the blue family (blue is primary, purple has blue as a base primary color). Of course, that’s just my own personal opinion.


  7. I vote for brown, purple, and blue, because I think the purple would have a greater contrast than the black. I like your method of color selection and will keep it in mind for the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Deb I have some thoughts. I will not only look at the choice of certain colours, but to think of the contrast between colours. This is the lightness or darkness of a particular colour. Depending on how the blocking of colours come together, whether there are large sections of different colours, and fewer of them, or smaller sections , and more of them, you will probably have different colours come next to each other in different areas. So you need to remember that you have to like the pairs of different colours next to each other too. Unless you are always able to plan a certain pair not be next to each other. So that will mean that your main colour will be the variegated yarn and you’ll end up using more of it to keep a certain pair from being next to one another.

    In your one option that has brown and black next to one another, I would personally not have both. I would only choose to have one really dark colour and I would choose the brown since it is repeated in the variegated yarn. Using dark colours in knitting can be a tricky choice, especially if there is patterning in the stitches. Dark colours can hide detail, and sometimes weigh a garment down and sometimes become drab. In some cases this might work if one of the yarns has a different texture or lustre. For example something with a Fibre like mohair that has a shine to it and spun smooth (not brushed) so you still see the stitches.

    So I’m leaning towards your choice of purple, blue and brown. The purple and blue are similar in contrast, and are your lighter colours, the variegated is a little darker, and the dark brown is your dark contrast. So the is a nicer balance of contrast.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for thinking this through so well. You’ll get to see it at the next guild meeting. Can’t wait to see what you think.


  9. I use the same method of gauging colour as Laurie only I short cut that method without the black and white photo I just squint up my eyes until I see an out of focus look where the contrasts are more pronounced Probably not as accurate as Laurie but it works for me Susan in the ‘top of the south’ New Zealand

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You’re the one who told me always pick a colour that is not in the variegated yarn. I don’t always follow that suggestion but have regretted some of the ‘blobs’ of colour that result. Go for it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to hear I gave you some good advice, ha, ha. It’s still good. The difference here is that I used the variegated yarn to choose the three colours I’m using. I have to think of something else to do with that variegated yarn. Suggestions?


  11. The comments are really fun and enlightening to see. I go with the brown,purple and blue.
    My first thought was “tricolour” red, gold, blue of Queen’s University. We built a lot of spirit with those colours 60 yrs ago and though they may not be a first choice for beauty they are still the spirit force of the current students in Kingston and the alumnae around the world.

    Liked by 1 person

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