choosing colours for the plaid cowl

Our brain plays funny tricks with colour.  It says, “Oh, look at that!  It’s so bright and vibrant!”  But our sense of relative colour gets thrown off.  Is the green light or dark?

Look at how changing the photo to black and white reveals a few things.  Compared to the pale wood, the leafy green no longer seems to float like a line of light before us.

Working with a few different swatches and with the test knitters, it’s clear that it’s best to have a light, a medium, and a dark yarn, relatively speaking and to make the medium colour the main colour that moves horizontally across the cowl.  With the medium going horizontally, the pop of the light yarn going vertically provides the contrast which brings out the plaid effect.  It’s the two crossing each other that way that seems to work.

Here are the pictures I sent the test knitters to show them what I meant.  Yellow is light, green is medium, and navy is dark.

In the swatches with the light and dark colours as the main colour (left top and bottom), the plaid effect is fairly lost  in the general texture.  But with the green and yellow crossing each other in the top right photo, the plaid pops out.

Yet desite all this knowledge, in the excitement of talking to Jeni from Fiberspates on Skype, I managed to forget to stop, breathe, and make absolutely certain I had all three tones.  And so tomorrow, I’ll share with you what swatching has taught me about how the pattern works with a dark and two mediums.

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