How to Choose Complimenting Colors

By Emilee Gettle – 18 Comments

I love to work with color combinations. I think it makes crochet all the more interesting, homespun and personal. At times I find myself stumped at what might compliment a beautiful shade of yarn that I’m just dying to add to my collection. I don’t want to mar its stunning hue with a color that might distract from my finished project. It’s hard to judge what a finished project might look like while holding an armful of skeins. So, I have found a solution to this color quandary in the pages of a book from 1900. Here are some suggestions that are just as useful today as they were over 100 years ago!

A Few Hints circa 1900
It is very difficult to tell what colors will harmonize. We will give a full list of those which do, and hope it will be of some assistance to ladies…

Blue and salmon color.
Blue and drab.
Blue and orange.
Blue and white.
Blue and straw color.
Blue and maize.
Blue and chestnut.
Blue and brown.
Blue and black.
Blue and gold.
Blue, scarlet, and purple.
Blue, orange, and black.
Blue, orange, and green.
Blue, brown, crimson, and gold.
Blue, orange, black, and white.
Black and white.
Black and orange.
Black and maize.
Black and scarlet.
Black and lilac.
Black and pink.
Black, and slate color.
Black and drab.
Black and buff.
Black, yellow, and crimson.
Black, orange, blue, and scarlet.
Crimson and drab.
Crimson and gold.
Crimson and orange.
Crimson and maize.
Crimson and purple.
Green and scarlet.
Green, scarlet, and blue.
Green, crimson, blue, and gold.
Green and gold.
Green and yellow.
Green and orange.
Lilac and crimson.
Lilac, scarlet, black, and white.
Lilac, gold, and crimson.
Lilac, yellow, scarlet, and white.
Lilac and gold.
Lilac and maize.
Lilac and cherry.
Lilac and scarlet.
Purple, scarlet, and gold.
Purple, scarlet, and white.
Purple, scarlet, blue, and orange.
Purple, scarlet, blue, yellow, and black.
Purple and gold.
Purple and orange.
Purple and maize.
Purple and blue.
Red and gold.
Red and white.
Red and gray.
Red, orange, and green.
Red, yellow, and black.
Red, gold, black, and white.
Scarlet, and slate color.
Scarlet, black, and white.
Scarlet, blue, and white.
Scarlet, blue, and yellow.
Scarlet, blue, black, and yellow.
White and scarlet.
White and crimson.
White and cherry.
White and pink.
White and brown.
Yellow and chestnut.
Yellow and brown.
Yellow and red.
Yellow and crimson.
Yellow and black.
Yellow, purple, and crimson.
Yellow, purple, scarlet, and blue.
Yellow and purple.
Yellow and violet.

Do you have suggestions for complimenting colors?

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  1. Sandra says:

    I’m curious to know what book you’re referring to!

  2. Pavi says:

    This is very useful! I have assimilated a lot of scrap yarn and would like to make something with them! Now I can use this chart to figure out the combinations!

  3. SoSaje says:

    It’s interesting to see how even the names of colors have been modernized! What color is “drab” exactly? 🙂

  4. Teena says:

    lol I think this is cute and funny, how in 1900 they were advising ladies what colours to wear. ‘Blue and green should never be seen unless there’s a colour in between’ now no longer is the case.

    But I do find it hard to mix colours myself, something I inherited from my matchy-matchy mum. Some people have a real eye for it and just seem to throw any old colours together and it comes out looking great!

  5. Sandie says:

    Yes, do tell what book you’re referring to. I usually do one color things to limit tails to sew in, but I enjoy the look of multi colored pieces and sometimes will venture out. 🙂
    Teena, I used to hear that also. It’s funny how times have changed and truthfully I’ve seen just about every color joined together. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not. I think the “beauty” does indeed depend on the eye of the beholder. heh Thanks for the list of colors, Emilee.

  6. Cami says:

    This is really cute! Thanks I love the suggestions!

  7. Cary2Crafty says:

    There is a WordPress blog I follow – Sarah London. You should visit her blog and check out her color combinations. She has a great eye for putting colors together that I would never think of. Also, I recently downloaded an app to my iPod that is like a kaleidoscop to play with. I froze some of the frames and saved them to use as inspiration for future afghans and pillows.

    • Carol Keskeny says:

      What is the name of this app? I would love to try it! I can’t seem to combine colors that look that great togehter. Thanks for the information

  8. Marrianne says:

    I usually look for an skeen with multiple colours in it and than I search for the colours seperately so I know for sure they will match! This is a great way to improvise and while at it I am getting the hang of it! Now I sometimes buy different skeen-colours and match them as i go on a project!

  9. Dionne says:

    Thanks for the tip about Sarah London. I love her stuff!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Peggy says:

    Use color wheels you can find at stores that sell paint to find interesting color combinations.

    I also use multi-color yarn, as was already suggested, to find interesting combinations.

  11. Liza says:

    OMG! I’m totally cracking up over this list! How can anyone possibly come up with a list of all the possible good color combinations?! I like Peggy’s suggestion, it’s much more realistic and practical than a long list of someone’s idea of what works.
    I don’t mean to sound like such a critic — I pretty much love everything on Crochet Spot. I think the catalyst for me even commenting at all was seeing that “blue and drab” specifically made a good combination (or anything and drab).
    Thanks for sharing this, it has been a great distraction from my homework!

  12. I always have a color wheel around when I crochet, especially if making granny squares, or any other so-called “scrap” project. If you want to make a color “pop” put it with whatever is exactly across the color chart from’s complementary color….or you can also get some nice effects by using whatever color is directly on either side of it’s complementary color. You can get a nice effect from using the colors on either side of the color you are working with, as well, as well as colors which are halfway in between the color and it complementary color. I’m making a version of a granny square-type afghan now, using these principles, bordering all squares with black, and making black fill-in shapes, and the results have been spectacular! I just looked on the internet for color charts, and printed one on a color printer.

  13. Cary2Crafty says:

    Thanks all for the color wheel idea. I bought one to use with scrapbooking, but never thought to use it with crocheting. I can’t wait to check out some of Metta’s ideas.

  14. I think – maybe I’m making this up !! – I remember my grandmother who was 91 in 1970 referring to “olive drab” as a color that would have been used in military clothing. I don’t remember ever hearing olive not accompanied by drab.
    So my thought is that drab may refer to the fact that the color is muted or grey-ed down rather than vibrant, saturated, or bright.
    Anybody else? :0)

  15. Sandie says:

    You can find lots of color wheels online too if you don’t have one. I have a few at my web site as well but nothing like the list here.

  16. Lori A. says:

    I was surfing looking for patterns and came upon Crochet Spot. I love it! I just want to share with you all that my childhood memories include a crocheting grandma who raised me. “I have to feel useful and crochet for my family helps me do this.” Grandma Bom was crippled from a fall and was always seen with a hook and project for one of us! She even got her name in the local paper for crochet she sent to then Pres. Nixon! I’d love to share the news clip from the early 70’s. with all of you.

  17. Megan says:

    Blue and Salmon colors do not work for me…But blue and pink (like cotton candy) do! 😉

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