It´s in the eye of the beholder

optical_mixture_swatchWhen I was reading about colours this summer, I came accross something that is called “optical mixture”. It´s a fancy name for something we all know well: When you see a pattern of tiny yellow and blue dots from a distance,  you will get the impression that the area they cover is actually green. If you retreat far enough, you can no longer discern the individual dots and colours. That´s the reason why, in printing, it is possible to accurately depict a wide range of colours with only Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK) as bases  without the image looking all spotted. The clue is to print tiny dots.

So what does this mean for knitting? Well, I had the idea this says for knitting that, with only three colours, you should be able to create the illusion of a colourful knitted fabric if choosing the right texture pattern. For my swatch I used the Triple L-Weed pattern because it is simple and all three colours are equally important.

If you try this at home, choose colours of three different hues.

You can create a blending effect by starting with a solid colour, here I started with yellow, and then adding in another colour, for example teal.  At first add in just a bit of the new colour, then work it more and more frequently until it becomes the next solid colour. I demonstrated this in the bottom half of my swatch.

Or you can randomly change colours for a multi-coloured look as in the upper half of the example. I think choosing a dark colour that is not anthracite would have enhanced this effect even more – but I had no dark colour at hand that I liked with the other two. And since I wasn´t patient enough to purchase the correct colour before casting on, this will have to do. – Even with this limitation though this gets my imagination going. I think I need to start working on a new design right now.


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