Category Archives: workshop

Colour your knitting!

How do we see colours? What is interesting about them to us knitters? Those are the things I have been thinking about lately.

Colours don´t stand on their own, they always interact with one another. It doesn´t actually happen in real life that all we see is one colour. And our perception of any particular colour heavily depends on the context we see it in.

For example, the exact same grey can look very different when it is put on a blue versus an orange-brown shade.

samecolour_singles

 

Only when you add a grey frame and, from the frame, lines to the two grey squares connecting them with the frame, does it become evident that it is, indeed, the same grey.

samecolour_frame

 

And the identical grey looks different if projected on black versus white horizontal stripes, as is illustrated on the left below. The image on the right shows the blocks of grey without overlapping stripes.

grey-on-stripes

 

The next example illustrates a similar illusion. A solid grey appears to have a gradient if placed on a gradient background. Again, on the right you see the grey block without the gradient background revealing how our eyes have been deceived.

greydient

 

There´s also this mind-boggling effect of the complementary afterglow. Stare at this bright blue for about 60 seconds, and make sure to actually last that long, then on the white image on the right, focusing on the grey squares in the centre each time. You should see an afterglow in the complementary colour, i. e. in yellow. This is something our brain does. Whenever the complementary colour is missing, it is assumed and added by some process in our brain. Researchers are still debating what´s behind this effect. Probably a contributing factor is the fatigue of the colour receptors of the eye. If a receptor for a colour gets tired, the colour it is absorbing, which is always the contrast colour, gets enhanced.

complementary_afterglow

 

 

We also tend to subconsciously assume volume in 2-dimensional images. All of the following lines are perfectly parallel. Hard to believe, right?

horizontal_lines3

 

It´s tempting to use this in a future design, but I kind of get the feeling I might cause some headaches with that. And being a headache sufferer myself, I definitely want to avoid that.

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I´m back

workshop_farben293I am back to blogging after a long hiatus. I had stopped writing here because I was focusing on other aspects of being a knitwear designer. There´s a lot to do and only so much time. But right now the writing mojo is back.

I have been teaching two colour workshops early this month. In both of them we have been thinking about colour theory, about things to consider when choosing colours for our knitting projects and about flattering ways to distribute colours in garments, among other things. The actual knitting part has been themed around stranded knitting for one, and around intarsia for the other workshop.

I immensely enjoy teaching, it is very rewarding to pass on a bit of the knitting knowledge I´ve accumulated throughout the years.

But it is a wee bit frustrating to me that I cannot talk about everything that I want to say in the workshops. There are many more interesting aspects in the wide field of colours than can be squeezed into a two to four hours time-frame, where the focus naturally will be on the knitting technique.

And oh did I try. For the first ever colour workshop I taught I had planned to talk about all techniques that use colours in one way or another. Because there was no way that we could make a swatch in each technique, I prepped swatches so that knitters could knit a row on each of them and swap them around, I guess I was thinking of the circuit training in sport. Needless to say this is a suboptimal way to teach. I learn from my mistakes and we now have lots of time to focus in-depth on the one technique I am teaching. I still wonder how it happened that knitters walked away happy from that first ever colour workshop.

But even after slowing down and all these workshops I HAVE SO MUCH MORE TO SAY STILL. So here I am. However, I have decided to write in English only from now on. It just takes up too much time to write every single post in two languages. I apologise to my German readers.

Not all posts here will be strictly knitting-related. But having thought a bit deeper about colours may help when it comes to choosing colours for your next project, so knitting will always be on the back of my mind when I am writing. Stay tuned for my colour chatter!

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