Simple Color Wheel

37597_zoomRed is a very intense color with high viability.  It is a warm, energetic color that reflects strength, health, & energy.  Red represents joy, passion, sexuality, willpower, courage, & anger.

People who prefer red are often outgoing, & energetic individuals who embrace life with passion. They have a positive outlook on life, & do not like to be bored.  Quiet people with a preference for red, may feel the need for the warmth, strength & life-giving qualities of the color. Red is a color chosen by men, women, & children alike.

What colors go with red?

Red is a bold color that makes a nice splash to a neutral pallet.

Red is the opposite of green on the color wheel.

A light tint of blue creates a nice contrast.

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 oraOrangeOrange is a warm color that combines the energy of red with the happiness of yellow.  It is associated with joy, sunshine, happiness, & creativity.  It has an invigorating effect that stimulates mental activity.

Orange is preferred by flamboyant, fun-loving people, & is highly accepted by youth.

What colors go with orange?

Red & yellow can be paired well with orange.

Blue is the opposite color of orange on the color wheel.

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il_570xN.341784807Yellow, the warm color of sunshine, inspires joy & happiness. It arouses cheerfulness & stimulates mental activity. Men often perceive yellow as a color for lighthearted children.

People who prefer yellow are those who are mentally adventurous.  They are clear precise thinkers who have lofty ideas & may at times shun responsibility preferring freedom of thought & action.

What colors go with yellow?

Yellow tends to disappear into white, so it usually needs a dark color to highlight it such as brown.

It pairs well with orange or green.

It is opposite of violet on the color wheel.

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bright leafGreen is the color of nature.  It symbolizes growth, harmony, & freshness. Green is the most restful color to the human eye.

Green is the choice of gentle sincere people who are often frank. They are community-minded people who can be fairly sociable, but prefer peace at any price.

What colors go with green?

Green is a cool color that goes will with yellow or blue.

Red is the opposite color of green on the color wheel.

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il_fullxfull.375252696_5kz2Blue is the color of sky & sea.  It is often associated with depth, stability & tranquility.  It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, faith, & trust. Blue is considered beneficial to body & mind by producing a calming effect.

Blue is most preferred most by males.

What colors go with blue?

Blue is a cool color that sets opposite of orange on the color wheel.

It goes well with green or violet.

When blue is used with warm colors like yellow, & red, it can have a strong visual impact.

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Violet is a cool color that combines the stability of blue with the energy of red.  It is associated with royalty, wisdom, dignity, creativity, mystery, & magic.  It symbolizes power, luxury, & ambition.

Violet is often preferred by women & children.

Light purple evokes romantic & nostalgic feelings, while dark purple evokes gloom & sadness.

What colors go with violet?

Blue is a great color to combine with purple, or red can be used for a vibrant contrast.

Violet sets opposite of yellow on the color wheel.


Color Harmony

I have often heard knitters comment that they find it difficult to combine colors for a project.  This is one reason why so many knitters choose to strictly follow a pattern’s recommendation for yarn choice.  However, selecting colors for a project can be a lot of fun & is an important part of the process in making an item unique. The colors are what give a piece personality & makes an item personal.  So let’s talk about color harmony.

Color harmony is a term used to  describe color groupings that have a pleasing visual effect.  Most knitters have a basic sense of color harmony.  We know what we like & what we don’t like. We know what colors & color combinations we find appealing, but for the most part we match colors according to gut instinct. Today, I want to discuss color harmonies a bit more technically.

complementary wheelComplementary colors are two colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel.  There are 3 pairs of complementary colors.  They are Red & Green, Orange & Blue, and  Yellow & Violet.

5985480056_a77d755354_zThese color combinations have a high contrast with each other, that make them tricky to manage. In knitting, I find it best to avoid these color combinations unless one color is used for a slight embellishment.


Analogous colors are those that are found next to each other on the color wheel.  For example, red, orange & yellow are analogous colors.  So are yellow, green & blue.  It is best to choose one color to use as a main color, another color as a contrast color, & a third as an accent color.


Triadic colors colors are evenly spaced around the color wheel such as red, yellow, & blue.  These color combinations are contrasting & create a vibrant color scheme. To keep this color harmony in balance,  choose one color to be the main color, & the other two as accent colors.


There are 4 colors that make up a Tetradic or rectangle color scheme.   These four colors are divided into 2 complementary pairs.  This color schemes leaves room for a number of possible variation, but the number of warm colors should equal the number of cool colors.

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Here are some more examples of the color schemes described above.

Here is a link to even more color theory that I did not go into here.

Did you know that the different colors have different meanings? We’ll talk about these meanings in the final post in the School of Color series.  Look for it next week?


Color Theory 101

This is the first in a series of 3 posts that I have put together on color theory. These posts will be coming out on Fridays. I am calling the series School of Color.


The best way to look at colors in relation to each other is with a color wheel.   Sir Isaac Newton was the first to arrange the colors in this manner in 1666.color wheel

There are 12 basic colors on the RYB (or artists) color wheel. These can be broken down into 3 groups.

There are 3 Primary colors, red, yellow, & blue.  In art, these pigment colors  can not be mixed or formed by any combination of other colors.  They are the building blocks that create all other colors.

There are also 3 Secondary colors.  These are orange, green, & violet. The secondary colors are created when two of the  primary colors mixed together.

The Tertiary colors are created when one primary color is mixed with one secondary color.  There are 6 tertiary colors.  They include red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, & red-violet.

The color wheel can be divided into warm & cool colors.

warm colorsThe warm colors include red, orange, yellow, & brown with all of their various hues included.

These colors seem to envelope you, causing spaces to feel small & cozy. They create an active response in the brain which creates feelings of excitement, & passion. When temperatures begin to drop outdoors, I find myself being drawn to the warm colors of Autumn.

Cool Colors

The cool colors include green, blue, & violet with all of their various hues included.

These colors are calming, & soothing.  They can make a space feel large, & open.  They create a passive response in the brain that causes a person to feel calm & relaxed.

I find myself being drawn to the cool colors when it is hot outside & I want to feel cooler.  I think of the greens of summer, when plant life is thriving, & blue in the winter when every thing is calm, quiet, & cold.

Black, white & gray are considered neutral colors.

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