Apparently, I am making a blanket. Can you help with colors?

22 Aug 2010


So, back in the significantly-more-carefree month of June, I thought, "I need a crochet project." I had this cone of stranded yarn that I'd picked up from Yarnia on clearance, and I thought I'd fulfill a longtime dream of mine – to make a scarf from small granny squares.

…But then I got curious to see just how many little squares I could get out of this cone. Well, it's clear at this point that I'll have enough to make a great big blanket.


And that's where I could use some help from you fiber-lovers. See the yarn? It's mostly purple, but that one strand of bright red is really prominent. Not only that, the variegation makes the squares pretty visually complex. I think I need another solid color or two to border these little grannies and give the blanket more harmony.


These red grannies are about 3" square (or they will be once they're blocked). What colors would you use between them? I'm leaning toward neutrals, but yarn-color-selection is not my forte. I'd love some suggestions!

(Oh, and while I'm here, I should let you know that my video blog and Google Analytics tutorials have had to go on hiatus until after Labor Day. Sorry, friends - I am up to my eyeballs in work deadlines for a while. The Crafty Goodness will return, don't worry!)



I would go with a deeper color that complements the two you already have and with black on the final round and for the connector color. I've made granny square afghans in colors similar to what you have and that's how I finished them. I wish I had taken pictures of them when I finished, but I didn't and of course, gave them away. You could even go with a heather gray or deep slate as well. Something neutral but deep. The colors you have pop. Those are the colors I always go with. Had I seen that color I would have snapped a boat-load up. I absolutely love it!!

I'd love to see that yarn paied with a bright, primary orange or a magenta.
Can't wait to see the final project!

Mmm, I was thinking a dark colour too! But not sure whether black or chocolate brown. Could you perhaps, place a few of the squares on fabric of those, and different colours, with the colour showing through to get a sort of idea of what it would look like? :)


Any neutral kind of color would be good, of course. :) (Beige, Cream, light brown)

But you could also try something more flashy like an "apple green" or light/medium blue color.

Pretty yarn! I have no suggestions for color, as I can't decide without seeing them next to each other. As others have suggested, I'd take a square to the yarn shop and start laying them out on the yarn. Or the paint store and use the paint chips for ideas.

I would consider these options:

A yellowy-cream or soft-butter yellow which would help to draw out the purple in the squares. I wouldn't go too bright though, or it will compete with the complexity of the squares. Yellow is opposite purple on the color wheel, and by going softer, you'll accentuate the purple rather than compete with it.

Another way to go would be an adjacent color on the color wheel to the purple, which would be either a pink or blue. I'd take a square to a LYS or Big Box store and set it next to variations of these color options and see which you find most pleasing. Set the square on a white sheet of paper or something, and set two to four skeins around the edges of your square and see which accentuates the complexity of the square most pleasingly to your eye. Color is really subjective, and the best way to see what you like best is to actually see them side by side and see which makes your squares "pop" the best to your eye. Even if you don't actually purchase any of these yarns, you'll have a better idea of the shades you like the best with your squares.

I'd definitely try to bring out the purple since the red is really strong. Another possibility would be a lighter shade of that same purple. :-)

I think you need a little sour to balance the sweet - lime green. The purple is a red-violet and the red is, well, red, so the green will compliment them and offer a bold contrast.

I'd probably go with some kind of green to go with the red, but that might be a little odd for some people. hmm dark purple if you want a darker looking blanket, light if you want something to be brighter?

important suggestion #1: take the square and yarn with you when you pick colors (i'm shocked bu the number of people who skip this step!).

I think it could look nice with a dark, bold blue, although that might be too american-flag for you. I also think that you could find something very similar to the purple in a solid (or in a marl that is purple plus lighter pink) for a great effect. It will make the red stand out but also calm it down.

I also like the idea of a turquoise/teal shade, depending on your taste.

Whatever you do, I think black and white will only make it pop out even more. If you do want to keep the redness, try a brick red or reddish brown and see how that looks. Good luck!

i'd go with a charcoal or black. it'll make those pop out even more!

Oh, and PS. I Love Yarnia! Such a cool place.

How about black? A narrow strip between, joining squares together, and similar narrow border. Black would make the two colors pop!

There is only one real option here ; hot orange ! It will make it the perfect autumn blankie ;D

i'd definitely go with black to join the squares. will really make the lovely bright fuschia/orange colors POP!
jd in st louis

You appear to like clear jewel tones. I'd add a pink and emerald. Or pick two of your favorite colors from your flower header above since the purple is already in there. Those colors don't really read neutral to me, but you could make them really pop by adding graphic black and white. And a creamy off-white with chocolate would be cool - very fall. Or just get more purples and reds. :) Someone stop me....

I love how this blend is turning out in the squares! I tend to go with straight-up black whenever I'm joining granny squares, but I agree with the previous comments suggesting a rich chocolate-y brown; that would definitely complement both of these colors beautifully :)

The pictures online make the squares seem really red. So, honestly, I would try to match the purple color. It will tie in, and not look like graph paper in the end. Unless, of course, you WANT it to look like graph paper :)

I'm 99.9% sure black would be great with those awesome jewel tones, but if you can find a very deep purple - think of an eggplant - that just might be beautiful too.

The more I've thought about it, (and it is amazing how much I've thought about it for a project that isn't even mine!), the more I'd be inclined to try to pull the purple out of that wonderful yarn. Given that it has been so overpowered by the red, I'm really thinking the best way to make that purple visible is to find a solid as close to that same color as you can, a darker version of that purple, and/or a heather color as close to it as possible or a darker version of it. That would tone down the red and make the purple more visible.

If you wanted to add two colors, perhaps choose a purple that is almost exactly the same shade, in perhaps a heather version, as your first rounds, followed by either a darker version of that purple, or perhaps a softer/muted version of the red for outer rounds. Because the purple has been so drowned out by the red, though, I think I'd stay with the purple shades to emphasize the purple strands in your squares.

When you frame a picture, the best matting is one that picks up a subtle color from the painting or photo itself... something that would otherwise be obscure but will become "more visible" simply by using the same color, or an echo of that color, in the matting. If your goal is to accentuate the play of colors IN your blocks, I'd be more inclined to follow that logic with your borders. If you want something that is simply traditional "granny square" then I'd go either black or brown... probably black.

From your original post, however, it comes across to me that you want to highlight THIS yarn and harmonize the colors in an overall finished project. The best way to accomplish that goal it to stay very close in color, tone, intensity, and shades of these original colors, especially if your squares are very small, which these appear to be (3"). If you were using very large squares, a "harsh" border might work better, but you are gonna have quite a bit of border around your squares, it appears to me. If you want to keep them smaller, and not have your border colors overpower your squares, I'd stay in the same color ranges for your borders or the border color will be visually most strong and dominate.

Oh man, a mix of turquoise and chartreuse would look awesome with the colors you already have! Black will make it look like a checkerboard.

Hmm, reminds me of red wine, which reminds me of chocolate. What about a nice chocolate-y brown?

HAHA! I'm so eager to make a decision, too, with all the wonderful ideas everyone's presented. But Life is keeping me from craft just a little longer. Then I promise to post an update!

I keep checking back almost every day to see if you've made a decision yet! LOL! I have no idea why I'm so invested in what you finally decide, but, when you make a decision, please let us know so I can focus on other stuff again! heeheehee... it's just silly how anxious I am to see what you've decided!

aka: RovingStarPoints @

I agree with a lot of the people who are commenting on a warm, yet subtle yellow/gold color. Another option, and this might sound crazy, but have you considered gray. I'm in love with gray these days. I think it's the new beige :)

I think a rich chocolate brown would be gorgeous. It would complement the red and purple and make it a really luscious, cozy looking autumn/winter blanket. Alternatively, a light acqua would lighten it all right up and look lovely too. Or if you wanted to be craaaaazy, you could use both! Can't wait to see the finished project.

I would vote for a deep plum. LOVE your podcasts, btw - that's how I found you. You are an inspiration to me! Thank you!

My initial thought is also beige, tan, browns but maybe a dark blue - navy mix would also work well - a strong navy with a hint of purple might go with that reddy-purple mix you've got

I love red with an oatmeal-y beige. Although when I first saw the squares, black was the first color that popped into my head. That yarn is so cool!

If you want to be safe, go for cream, bright white or gold. If your feeling braver, why don't you try a cantalope shade of orange?

Just for fun, if you use an Apple and have the Dashboard feature that comes up "with the click of an eye", you might love this widget found
The color "Sphere" (as it is named once you download it) will allow you to use color theory (kazillions of combinations) to see available choices. It is addicting, though, so beware!

I like the cream and chocolate idea or the soft yellow. Maybe those squares could be larger so that two lil guys will fit next to each side giving larger textured areas against the little ones. And as lindamade said, when off to the yarn store, carry a square! :)

I also like the 'apparently' part. Surprise! you've won a blanket! ha ha!

I'm behind in blog reading so I've been able to read a lot of suggestions in the comments. I think almost any of them would work, depending on the look you want, except I would match or be close to the intensity of color, as was suggested.
You wrote that you were leaning toward a neutral -- are you looking to tone down the intensity of the look? I think Chocolate brown would work, but I'd join the squars together using single crochet in a red or red/orange. I'm wondering what was calling you toward neutrals?
Something also called you to this intensely colored yarn, and I'd go on with that. I'd choose a darker, solid purple for another round or two, and then join squares by single crochet in a solid red or red/orange.

Okey dokey... I'll try to be patient! :-) Heaven knows I know what that's

like! I'm sure it'll be awesome!


Soft grey, or perhaps yellow if you want zippiness?
Have you seen the Attic24 blog (google), lots of bright crochet there.

I would go with black. It will make the red & purple pop!

I always find a bit of orange looks good anywhere, but for this color about a turqoise if I could spell it I mean...

I think I'd go with black. I also have a suggestion: why not lay out 4 squares on a plain background, with a border-sized space between then. Snap a photo, and then could replace the background colour in Photoshop to get an idea of what different border colours might look like...

I think neutrals sounds like a good idea. Sometimes you just have to let a colour do its thing and not try to balance it (or worse still, drown it) with another strong colour. I think I'd use like a creamy white or very light grey.. :-)

You've got the start of an analogous color palette, so I feel like purple would be a good choice. Or a cozy brown.

I would go with black. It will make the red and purple pop!

My immediate thought is a dark teal, if you like a nice contrast.
Like Teal (Hex: 008080) (RGB: 0, 128, 128) on this page:

If you don't want so much contrast, then try a nice chocolate brown, milk or dark, yum!

Two colors come to mind: Granny Smith Apple Green and your Basic Black. But maybe that's because my hub's grandmother made many, many granny square projects and bordered them with one or the other. They work, so why fight right?

A black would really make the squares stand out. Otherwise I would try and match the purple if you wanted to tone it down while still keeping it bright.

I think it depends on what you want to stand out with the color you already are using.
Most neutrals are probably going to continue to make the red stand out.
Tan would probably make it look more brick-like.
If you wanted to have the purple highlighted more, you could use a blue . . . a medium-dark blue might look really nice.
A green would make the red stand out more, but that could make it look Christmas-like also.

I would go with a similar color of purple. If you want it to really pop, then choose black or a Navy. After you wrote neutrals, now I wonder what a kaki would look like next to it.

The pictures may be darker than the actual yarn but I could see a nice chocolate brown border. If they are lighter than that, a darkish tan?

You can use black to frame them and make the squares look like stained glass. I've done this before and was very happy with the blanket.

Although color choices are important, I also think you need to be concerned with values. If there is too much contrast between the different values of the yarn, the blanket will likely feel jarring rather than harmonious. If you laid out a value scale, keep all your colors within about a third of the scale. (Does that make sense?). One way to check values is to put all of your yarn choices in a row on a black/white photocopier and copy. This will let you see which yarns "pop" or completely disappear because they are too close or too far away in value.

Your yarn appears to be really high on the value scale, so a really pale color IHMO won't work well. But the photocopier trick will really help.

my vote is for yellow, but that's mainly because i love yellow and i think it looks good everywhere. deep turquoise also sounds good...

gorgeous yarn!