A Choose Your Own Color Adventure

Sep 30, 2010

If you were to flip through my closet you would find a large number of blue garments. I have always loved blue and luckily it looks great on me. So when I see a new crochet pattern I immediately wonder what it would look like in my favorite color. And when not in a "blue" mood I lean toward reds, pinks, or maybe greens.

Some of you may already know what colors look great on you or, like me, a look through your own closet  might reveal a distinct color palette. Or perhaps you have a specific shirt that people always compliment you on.

One of the greatest benefits to crocheting your own garments is that you have complete control over color. Recently I was browsing through the eBook Best of 2010: Top Ten Patterns for Crochet Sweaters and fell in love again with many of the designs. Since this is a collection of the most popular sweaters from Interweave Crochet, I was curious to see your favorites. The Astrid Pullover by Kathy Merrick jumped out at me, probably because of the fabulous orange yarn. Unfortunately, orange is not a good color on me, especially this bright of a hue. Of course I could make it in blue...

Thus began our little experiment made possible by a few Interweavers and my limited Photoshop skills. The quest for the perfect color.


The sample garment was worked in a beautiful burnt orange shade (called Sienna) of Morehouse Farm Merino 2-ply. With her dark hair and warm olive complexion, our model has what is often referred to as a fall complexion, making this earthy orange a perfect color for her, but she could also try other colors often associated with fall such as dark browns, golds, or rich grays.

If you, too, have a fall complexion, be careful of yarn colors in pastel shades or with blue overtones. These colors may wash out the beautiful vibrancy of your coloring. 




People with fall complexions can often wear the widest range of colors. While at first glance Heidi may seem to have far different skin and hair coloring from our model,  both have warm skin tones and look best in spicy, earthy colors.

Because orange is not her favorite color though, Heidi would be more drawn to other colors with warm undertones such as deep reds. 



If you have cool skin tones and dark hair, you probably have a winter complexion and you have two very different options when it comes to color choice.

Try rich colors such as black, dark blue, reds, or even colors edging toward the brilliant or "hot". You may be one of the few who can truly pull off these strong colors. You can also play with icy pastels such as cool blues, lavenders, pinks, or yellows.


I have a spring complexion with a warm skin tone and blond hair. You probably noticed that my hair is a very strawberry blond (okay, red...) in this picture. I got tired of the blond and wanted to try something different.

But this illustrates a good point: Your hair color can affect which colors you look best in. When I'm a blond I wear a lot of pink, but as a redhead I've found that color does not always work for me.

I look best in pale, clear, or bright colors such as peach, aqua, true reds, and bright blues, and I try to stay away from browns and blacks. 



Kathy is a perfect example of a summer complexion. When I asked her what colors looked best on her, she immediately began naming pastels.  Summers have light skin and hair and look fabulous in soft, muted colors.

Kathy's favorite color is a beautiful pastel green, and she'd also look great in mauve or lavender. But when she goes yarn shopping I would suggest she steers clear of the vivid hues including black and orange. 


Still not sure what your best colors are? Recruit a friend and go shopping. You don't have to buy anything but take turns holding different colored clothing or fabric near your face and determining which colors work best.

And the next time you see a must-make crochet project but know the sample color just won't do you justice, remember that yarn shopping offers a world of options. Many yarn manufacturers display all of their color choices on their website, allowing you to choose the perfect shade. What color would you make the Astrid Pullover in? Check out  Best of 2010: Top Ten Patterns for Crochet Sweaters and design an entire wardrobe of sweaters in your favorite colors.

Best wishes,


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on Oct 4, 2010 7:37 AM

You didn't include comments on fashion colors for people of color. To me, that makes the whole Interweave group snobbish -  be more inclusive - those of us who aren't white like to knit and crochet, too.

ecoppell wrote
on Nov 6, 2010 12:13 PM


Your comments on fashion color and  skin color was off quite a bit. Years ago, I was taught the art of color matching with makeup and fabric swatches for which I received a certificate - which is neither here nor there. There is actually a science to it and a clear cut way to determine your "season". What I'm about to explain IS NOT a one-size-fits-all garment. First of all, to dogmom@tds.net, people of color are usually winters. There are some exceptions. I have mostly salt and pepper hair and I'm caucasian - I am a winter. Usually, winter's have dark brown, black, platinum blonde or silver white hair. (Toni, you are very right in saying the color of one's hair will make a difference in your color palette.) Winter means you have blue undertones to your skin color. And yes, people of color have, with some exceptions, a blue undertone to their skin. Winter is a COOL, CLEAR color palette with CARDINAL reds, NAVY and ROYAL blues, CLEAR yellows, CLEAR greens (NOT EMERALD GREEN), CLEAR FUCHSIAS, ELECTRIC purples, CLEAR blacks, CHARCOAL greys, chocolate (NOT BROWN), CLEAR whites, and ICY CLEAR colors of white, black red, blue, yellow, green fuchsia, purple and SILVER. I think I'm missing something there so go to a knowledgeable person who does color palettes. I'm serious when I say to go to a paint store for paint chips in clear blue undertones, dusty blue undertones, clear yellow undertones and dusty yellow undertones. Summer, which you claim to be Toni, is a DUSTY color palette with an undertone of blue. That means COOL, CLEAR, BLUE undertone colors for winter are decidedly SOFTand MUTED (DUSTY)  BUT still have a BLUE undertone for summer. Summers look good in denim (SOFT) blue,  soft red (no orange undertones, only blue undertones), soft baby yellow, soft baby pink, soft baby green, lavender, soft grey, soft creme (NOT ECRU OR WHITE). Their haircolor is usually soft blonde, light brown hair. I'm not sure where strawberry blonde fits in, but I'll try to speak about eye color if there's room here. Spring palettes have a CLEAR, WARM, YELLOW undertone. They can wear BRIGHT COLORS with YELLOW undertones of: orange, gold, golden yellow, emerald green, purple with a YELLOW undertone, ecru (NOT WHITE), brown (which has a yellow undertone). (NO BLUE.) (Hopefully I didn't leave any colors out. As I said, this was many years ago.) Spring haircolor is usually red (I don't mean to stereotype, I'm just trying to ilustrate) like the Irish redheads; medium and some dark browns, and I'm not sure what other haircolors belong to the spring palette. Finally, the fall palette is a DUSTY, YELLOW, MUTED palette. Fall's colors are: olive green, caramel orange, yellow yellow (NOT A BLUE UNDERTONE), tan, muted brown. I'm sure I've left a few colors out of all of the palettes. Lastly, one of the secrets to finding out what season you are is in the rim around your iris. NOT the pupil in the middle of your eye, but the OUTER RIM around your iris. Mine is blue, because I'm a blue undertone winter. Incidentally, my EYECOLOR is deep brown to almost black. THAT DOES NOT determine your season. I hope this information was helpful. I felt like I was giving a mini-seminar to your readers, Toni. Thank you.

on Dec 1, 2010 6:48 AM

Someone referenced this post to answer question "What does the color red look like?"...