Gail Callahan, also known as the Kangaroo Dyer, is well-know for her abilities using color in her hand-dyed yarns, fleece and silk scarves. She clearly knows the ins and outs of color theory, but she also knows that many crafters aren't that interested in why different colors look good together, they just want to be able to quickly and easily choose colors for a project that are going to look good together.
So she developed a tool -- the Color Grid -- that makes it easy to find colors that go together, as well as just the right color to add a bit of spark to a project, whether you're knitting a sweater, painting the walls in your bedroom or stamping a birthday card.
Using the Color Grid
The Color Grid is a folded brochure-style tool. When you get it there are four folds involved, but the selection tool is attached via perforation; just tear it off, open the now tri-fold sheet up and you're ready to go.
To use the color grid, you simply select a color you'd like to work with and position the piece with the holes in it so that the biggest hole is over that color. You'll want to make sure it's flipped so that the long rectangle is still on the page as well.
The colors you see immediately around the color you picked are all good choices to add to your project for a harmonious look. As you can see in the picture, I chose a darkish green and the other colors I was given are in the olive to slightly blue-green range.
But don't forget that rectangle! Over there you'll see the right colors to choose to give your project a pop of color and interest. I'm getting dark reds, which makes sense because green and red are complimentary colors (opposite each other on the color wheel, if you want to get technical).
Adding just a little bit of red to a design that mostly runs in those greens would make it a lot more interesting than a project that was only a couple of different shades of green.
Callahan suggests on the instructions printed on the card that the "spark" color be used in a ratio of 9:1 with the other colors.
Want to try a different color combination? Callahan also suggests looking at the colors that are in the same column as the color you chose, which will show you lighter and darker versions of the same color and make a nice, harmonious design.
You can also pick a color to start with, then use colors you find three squares to the left and right of that color. In my case that would give me a purple and and orange to go with my green, which would certainly produce something interesting!
The Color Grid is a handy tool that's small enough to keep in your knitting bag or purse whenever you happen to be traveling to the yarn store, or to keep stashed in your crafting space for whatever sort of project you're working on.
At the store, you can find a yarn that appeals to you, check out the color on the grid and choose accent colors for whatever project you might be planning on the spot. At home you can discover what yarn from your stash might provide some much-needed contrast in a project that's not turning out quite right.
The only complaint I have about this color picker is that the selector template is the same size as the brochure part, so if you try to stick it inside the grid part so that it won't fall out, it doesn't fit. (It will fit in such a way that it's not protected from falling out, so you'll just want to be careful to keep the pieces together.)
The Color Grid is a great tool for knitters who want to gain confidence making color choices but don't want to learn a lot about color theory. You may just find yourself becoming more playful with color and being more mindful about the colors you choose in all sorts of crafting projects.