[QA:Q] Is there a formula, or easy technique to blend colors from one end of a crochet rope to the other?
[QA:A] Thanks for your question, Jennifer.
[caption image="http://www.beadandbutton.com/~/media/Images/How%20To/askanna/askannaseptember08.ashx?w=200" targeturl="http://www.beadandbutton.com/~/media/Images/How%20To/askanna/askannaseptember08.jpg"] The more colors you use, the less obvious the shift in color will be. [/caption]
I love working with color, and I have a realm of comfort that I rarely step out of when it comes to color use in design. Color gradation is just one of those techniques that you really have to have a feel for in order to achieve greatness. Since most of my own designs are symmetrical and usually , the abstract concept of flowing harmoniously from one color to another is difficult for me. So, in order to make myself practice this technique, I have come up with a basic formula to work from one end of a crocheted rope to the other, going from a light to dark spectrum.
The first thing to do is gather up your colors. What I like to do is pick a general color, say green. Then I get as many colors as possible, starting with the lightest shade and going to the darkest. The more colors you have between the lightest and darkest shades, the more subtle the blending will be. The fewer shades result in blocks of color. I worked a sample crocheted rope, using five beads per round. Working a small sample lets you see what colors go well together, and you can keep these samples for future reference when using color in other designs as well.
As an example, lets say we have ten colors: A–J (I used size 8 beads from my stash). Pour a small pile of each color in order from A–J. As you string them on the crochet cotton, pick up a repeating pattern of A–E ten times. Drop the A and string a repeating pattern of B–F ten times. Then C–G ten times, D–H ten times, E–I ten times, and F–J ten times. As you crochet the rope, after each tenth round, the lightest color is dropped, and the second lightest color takes its place. This is why it is important to have subtle color changes from A–J, otherwise the change would be very obvious.
This is not the most artistic approach to gradation, but it is a good way to give yourself a boost in the right direction, and having samples of how well colors work together is never a bad thing. Good luck, and if anyone else has any tips on blending colors, please leave a comment!
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I studied color theory at a fine art school (BU's SFA) and still, this issue can be tricky! Where you might find problems are in the areas of bead finish (shiny usually "comes forward" and matte will recede). Another key to harmonizing color is "close value" -- that is, colors will seem to go together, "match" (even improbably) when they are of the same value: that is, degree of color intensity/mutedness (colors with the same degree of "mutedness" will seem to "match"). What you address here above is gradation by degree of dark/light. If you are trying that with your beads on hand and they just don't seem to work together, consider some of these other factors.