Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Color Inspiration

Tรคnzerinnen an der Stange (ca. 1888)

I have a favorite mug inscribed with this quote from the painter Edgar Degas:

“Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do.”

(Degas was also said to have complained on his deathbed, “Damn, and just when I was starting to get it!”) My talents are a very long way from Degas’s genius, but I do empathize with his sentiment that the more you know, the more you discover how much more there is to learn. Writing The Knitter’s Life List brought that home to me with a resounding thud. Not only am I constantly being reminded of things I could have included in the book, yet missed, but the fiber world is forever bubbling with new creative projects, intriguing techniques, talented people, and (sometimes) wacky ideas. The life list should never be considered final or all inclusive.

That’s the reason behind this post.

Each week I’ll write about some of the things that I wish I’d known about earlier. I’m hoping that you’ll share your thoughts so that together we can grow an even longer life list.

Because I love discovering unexpected, highly successful color combinations, experimenting with color is right at the top of my ongoing life list. If that’s your interest, too, the internet has hundreds of sites that will lead you down the garden path of exploration. Warning: Many of these sites are addictive! Three recent discoveries that I especially enjoy using are Design Seeds, COLOURlovers, and, of course, Kuler.adobe.com.

Each is full of inspiration, but I especially like the interactivity of the Adobe site: You can download a favorite photo, and the program pinpoints several key colors drawn right from the image. I found I could bring up yarn color cards on half my screen, and compare them to the kuler swatch palette on the other half of the screen. Here is a photo of a weaving project I’m developing. I didn’t follow the kuler color choices exactly, but they helped me examine my photo more thoughtfully and grasp the overall mood of it, as well as its color theme.

Color is a powerful element, present in every part of our lives. It can cheer us up, let us down, inspire or depress us. Our color choices can make or break a design. Great color combinations sing! Where do you find yours?

The Knitter’s Life List releases this September. For now, make sure to follow this link and enter the Knitter's Life List Sweepstakes and become a fan of the book on Facebook to stay up to date with Gwen's weekly posts.


Author Gwen W. Steege has been a fiber fanatic for nearly 50 years, and she hasn’t tired yet of spending late nights with her knitting needles and a good ball of yarn, sometimes spun from the fleece of her own sheep. By day she edits books on knitting and other fiber crafts for Storey Publishing. She lives in western Massachusetts.

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