Scheming Colors, Part 1

…Or color schemes. Tomayto tomahto.

One of my greatest frustrations with planning to knit a project or trying to correctly use my knitted projects as accessories is color matching. How do I know what items complement each other?

There are many different angles to consider. One is the color wheel, which I’ll discuss in this post, and the others include: seasonal colors, colors for your skin tone, your body shape, whether it’s casual or formal, and more. These other concepts I’ll discuss in a future post.

First: the color wheel. I tried looking for various apps that would help you use the color wheel, but couldn’t find one that did what I wanted it to do. :-/ So here’s an explanation.

basic color wheel

basic color wheel, (c) Takeshi Ugajin

Take a basic color wheel, like the one pictured here. Select your main or dominant color—that is, the color of the principal item in your outfit. Let’s say, for example, that I’m going to wear a blue shirt. To find out what colors complement the main color, you can either select colors that are:

1. Analogous: Directly next to the main color

2. Complementary: Directly across from the main color

3. Triad: Equally spaced from the main color on the color wheel
















Right Angle 2

Right Angle 2

Right Angle 1

Right Angle 1

4. At a right angle to the main color

5. At a T to the main color

6. At an X to the main color









Neutral colors that generally go with everything include beige, ivory, taupe, black, gray, and white, and sometimes brown.

Also consider hue, tone, tint, and shade, which can all affect whether your outfit really goes together.

hue tone tint shade

(c) Takeshi Ugajin

Hue is the pure color.

Tone (a.k.a. complement tint) is hue plus either gray or the opposite color, which will mute or “tone” down the color.

Tint is hue plus white, which will lighten the color.

Finally, shade is hue plus black, which will darken the color.

Consider also the possibility of contrast or of monochromatic colors. In the case of contrast, you can use different shades or tints to select colors you might not otherwise have considered—that is, you can combine light and dark colors. For example, to continue with the example of a blue shirt, I might wear a dark blue shirt with khaki pants or a light blue shirt with dark or black pants. Furthermore, there is the possibility of selecting a monochromatic outfit—that is, all the items in your outfit are the same color but different patterns (i.e., some solid and some patterned), different textures, and different shades, tones, or tints. Continuing with the blue shirt example, I could wear a dark blue, patterned, chiffon skirt; a light blue, solid, cotton shirt; a medium blue solid headscarf; a brown belt; and turquoise jewelry.

Okay, that’s it for now. Tune in next week to get the second half of the color scheming lesson!




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