April Stash Bust: Mixin’ n’ Matching Colors!


When faced with a pile of yarn scraps, it can be quite a puzzle getting them to match. How does one take yarn from a baby sweater and get it to look dazzling with leftovers from a men’s glove set? Or what about that half skein of varigated yarn? What will that go with?

Today I’m going to show you some practical applications of color theory! I love Joseph Albers’ teachings on color theory and read them like a favorite novel. Not everyone does and you might be asking, “Who is Joseph Albers anyway?” Without reading texts on theory, you can still get some great ideas from color theory basics. I’m going to show you how using stripes + some basic color theory makes color matching a no brainer.


Contrasting Colors: Colors that are opposite of each other on the color wheel. Red and Green; Blue and Orange; Yellow and Purple.

{Striped Baby Sock pattern from Knit Spirit en français; in english}


Analogous Colors: Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. Yellow, green, blue, purple, red, orange, yellow, green, blue… You get the idea. Pick two to three. You don’t want to just go around the whole color wheel. That is the next idea.

{Striped Knitted Baby Set from Better Homes and Gardens; photo by sofiecat on Ravelry}


Rainbow. Sometimes you can create unity by just mashing everything together–a stripe of every color. Keep in mind that you can alternate light and dark stripes or pick colors that are all the same tone (description of tone).

Wild Stripes on Knitty.com


Monochromatic: Tinting one color from its full strength all the way to white. So going from red to pink to white will always look dynamic.

{Chromium Star Blanket from A Whole Load of Craft; picture by theKidneyBean on Ravelry}

And taking those three ideas, you can pair them with more neutral colors. I like using a neutral color for the main color of a striping pattern and then any other combo for the secondary stripes. Variegated yarns work especially well with this technique.


{Vortex Hat pattern on Knitty.com}


{Treeline Striped Cardigan on Purl Bee}


{Turn a Square Hat; free ravelry download}

Next time you look to your stash, don’t be intimidated by color matching. Just use one or more of these principles I’ve shown you today and get started on your next leftovers project with confidence and ease.

Happy stash busting!
Kristin Roach

6 thoughts on “April Stash Bust: Mixin’ n’ Matching Colors!

  1. Have you ever tried Adobe’s Kuler? It is fun for making color mixes. It uses the theories that you mention but you can also use paintings or photos to come up with a color scheme.

  2. Thank goodness I found an article that can be understood. As a “colourblind person” I can now “see”.

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