This post is about complimentary colours and the name kind of gives it away… they complement each other! But which colours are complementary? Take a look at a colour wheel and draw a straight line from one edge, through the centre to the other edge and it’ll run through two colours. This pair sitting opposite each other on the wheel and are complementary.
So if you have a lovely orange-red yarn, what is opposite orange-red on the wheel? Green-blue.
The trick with using complementary colours is that just because they go together doesn’t mean you should do a 50/50 split between the two. In fact complementary colours work best if you use more of one and just a little of the other.
For example, if you’re designing stripes you might want to do thick stripes in one and thinner or fewer stripes in the other. But sometimes the yarn companies do the work for you, like where you have a yarn with a colour fleck in it, those are often complimentary to the base colour of the ply.
I like complimentary colours, because the right mixture of them always feels lively to me!
I’ve been busy remembering how to photograph scarfs and so I now have some shots to share of both my new fav pattern and that “rustic” (aka kinda scruffy) felted one from last year…
If you remember, this one had spacers when woven, and you can see it in how the weft is paired, but the overall result is this loose, raggedy texture which I find easy on the eye. I’ve also made my peace with what hot-felting did to the colours!
Next to be seen in the shop. Probably shouldn’t cause me as much excitement as it does…
I’ll admit I haven’t given my Etsy shop the love it deserves. Quite a bit of that comes from having launched it and then had an immediate “why am I doing this?” moment. You see I got a bit caught up in the flattery of my friends who were all “you should sell these!” about my scarfs.
What got lost somewhere in this was what led me to weaving in the first place; making things for other people. Specifically, I was knitting scarfs for charities.
So I started examining what I’d done by turning my weaving into a little business and that’s had me questioning questioned everything, including whether Etsy is the right place anymore for small shops, because:
it’s full of cheap, mass produced scarfs that don’t attract shoppers willing to pay for handmade items
Etsy is a noisy marketplace now too, so it’s hard to know how to be found
Having said that, it doesn’t cost much to run a little business there and takes very little effort. Both valuable to someone who works full time and writes novels.
At the end of all my musings, I realised that the shop brings a valuable positive to my weaving life… you see I chose a specific theme for my shop: handwoven items, all one of a kind from my loom.
No repeats. No colour variations. Unique items. And that pushes me to do more, explore more and challenge myself to create beyond trying patterns I like.
So, the shop is back up with some new stock and there are bunch of new ideas brewing in my weaver’s brain!
Just to be clear, I’m not talking about “I have thousands of dollars of debt” type frugality in this post. For me it’s about not wanting to be “wasteful” with my money and saving more than I do now.
Which is how, late last year, I discovered that I was… well… accidentally frugal. You see, I had consulted the internet on how to be a better saver only to find I couldn’t give up the suggested behaviours because I don’t do any of them!
It was a weird feeling. I mean I know I’m a good saver, but I don’t budget etc so I’d assumed there was room for improvement. Turns out that buying meals is about the only worthwhile area I can cut back in (other than giving up yarn). So, if I want to be more frugal then I need to solve the lunch problem.
This got me thinking about waste too. I can replace my paper wrapped, paper bagged sandwich from the shop with a paper wrapped, paper bagged one from home… but isn’t that a missed opportunity?
On work days, I’m definitely contributing to the vast amount of paper waste we create. And there’s no way that what I put in the recycling bin at work gets recycled – there’s just too much contamination (mostly take-away coffee cups) – so I don’t even have that to fall back on!
This is where the craft aspects come in. For the cleaning issues, I’m going to make myself some dish cloths and tea towels for the office. For eating, I’m going to start with some cloth napkins. It mightn’t involve weaving (we’ll see!) but it will definitely be a re-use, up-cycling thing. Exciting!
As I’ve said before, colour matters to weavers because when we cross a warp with a weft we visually mix colours. We also like to do things like create stripes and blocks of colour in patterns.
So how do you know that two, three or even four colours will work together? You use a ‘colour scheme’ a bit like those helpful paint brochures that show wall, ceiling and trim colours that work together give a colour scheme! Except you can take yours from the trusty colour wheel.
If you look at any colour wheel (see below) it shows the progression of colours around the wheel, but most of them also show the palest version of the colour in the centre and the darkest on the outer edge. If you look at just one wedge of colour – for example blue – then you’ll see a colour scheme that runs from blue-tinged white through to a dark navy.
That is a monochromatic (one-colour) colour scheme because they’re all the same blue just with more white/black added in to make them lighter/darker.
Of course we’re talking yarn not paint, so sure you might have four balls of yarn that are all blue, but are they shades of the same blue?
If you lay them side-by-side, in order from dark to light, you should see in daylight (beware the distorting power of electric lights!) that they’re shades of the same colour. Though this is where, if you really struggle with colour, you could grab a colour wheel and place the yarns over it to get help recognising if they’re the same blue because they should all belong to the same wedge of the wheel.
The great thing with monochromatic colours is that you can use as many or as few of them as you want (and can find in yarn). Just keep in mind what I’ve said before about the effects of the brightness of colours if you’re planning a pattern so that you draw the eye to part of the pattern you want.
I’ve had a bit over a week off work and there was a list of errands and chores as long as my arm to keep me busy. But then came the weather. I’m no one’s friend when it’s either humid or over 33C so, as I said in my scarf in a day post, I was hiding and weaving.
What I didn’t expect was that I’d weave quite this much!
I did a yarn audit in the middle of the week, so I have an excuse to buy more yarn… okay, technically it was to refresh my memory of what’s there, but the shopping part of my brain had an eye on whether the yarn store had space to grow (it does… squeeeeeeeee!). The other result of the audit was finding balls of colours that I don’t normally use.
I did a subtle pattern of stripes on the lemon scarf and it has turned out beautifully. It also got me thinking about patterns. I haven’t done one for a while…
So I’ve warped a colour pattern and, for something different, I threaded before winding on the warp (that’s the back beam in the foreground there).
The pattern will slow the weaving down some – not as much as being back at work though!