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Carina Envoldsen-Harris, author of Stitched Blooms, will be leading a special Color Workshop here on the Lark blog once a week for the next three weeks. From reviewing basic color theory to showing us how to select colors for our projects, Carina will share her expertise of all things color.

You can stitch the same motif shown in this blog post (plus a bonus motif!) by downloading them here for FREE: Stitched Blooms Motifs. Also, be sure to find out how you can enter for a chance to win a FREE copy of Stitched Blooms at the end of this post.

Update: Congratulations to Beth T., who won a free copy of Stitched Blooms! 

 

Hi! Welcome to this workshop about color. We’re going to cover a few things in these posts, but obviously, it’s an introduction to all things color. You could spend a lifetime studying these things, and that would be fun, I’m sure. But you wouldn’t have much time to do any embroidery!

The workshop is split into three sections: introduction to the color wheel, introduction to color schemes, and working with/selecting colors. Today we start with an introduction to the color wheel.

You have probably come across the color wheel before? In school, perhaps? If you haven’t, here’s a quick explanation of what the color wheel can do: It is a pie chart of sorts that shows how, with three basic colors (the primaries), you can mix all the other colors. Along with primary colors, you will often hear people talk about secondary and tertiary colors.

The three primary colors are red, yellow and blue, and they can’t be made from other colors. By mixing the primary colors, you will get the three secondary colors. These are orange (red + yellow), green (yellow + blue), and violet (blue + red).

There are six tertiary colors, each of which is mixed from a primary and a secondary color: red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet.

There are of course lots of colors besides these — millions in fact — but they all start with this basic principle of mixing, starting with the primary colors.

When it comes to embroidery, though, “mixing” perhaps isn’t the best term to use, because we can’t physically mix two colors of stranded floss. No matter how tightly you twist them together, red and yellow floss will not turn orange — they will always remain red or yellow. But they may look orange from some distance and that is very important to keep in mind.

 

Colors are very much influenced by their neighbors. Yellow and red next to each other will make each other look slightly orange. The same thing goes for any color — if there’s another color sitting next to it, each will impact the other, even if it’s just a little bit.

This can create unfortunate, unwanted effects, like a yellow that looks very nice on its own, but when placed next to a green takes on a green tinge. But we can also use it to our advantage, to make it look like we’ve used more colors than we actually have. Much like Impressionist painters who often would mix colors not on the palette but by putting small dots or strokes of paint next to each other on the canvas (called Pointillism), creating the illusion of a third color.

This is called partitive mixing or optical mixing. And this effect is exactly what we’re doing when we put thread colors together in a piece of embroidery. You could even recreate a Pointilist effect in embroidery by using French knots — when seen from a distance, the individual colors will start to disappear and the “in between” colors will appear.

And the number of colors that can be created using the colors on the color wheel can of course be multiplied even more by mixing them with white or black —to make a pink or peach or pale blue, for example.

The color wheel is a great reminder of the relationship between the colors. And the color wheel can do so much more for us! Next week we’ll look at how the color wheel can help us choose color schemes.

 

Enter for a chance to win a FREE copy of Stitched Blooms and try your own hand at color combinations with the 300+ motifs you can find in the book! Leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 13. Any comment will do, but why don’t you tell us your favorite color combination? One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and announced on Friday, February 14. Click here for the official rules. This giveaway is now closed.

Don’t forget to check back next week for part 2 of Carina’s Color Workshop and for a chance to win more free stuff! You can see more of Carina’s lovely, colorful motifs and projects on Carina’s Craftblog.

 

 

 
 
 
 

114 Responses

    Catherine says:

    I am always drawn to pale turquoise & coral.

    Kelly Massman says:

    Lovely present to give one of us lucky people! My favorite combo is pink and brown. But, I also love green with a lot of different colors!

    Cynthia Winter says:

    I love purple, green and orange.

    Jeanne says:

    Right now my favorite color combo is royal, aqua, and citron!

    Kim Reid says:

    I love turquoise and tan, thanks!

    Melissa Ward says:

    I love taking walks and seeing how nature puts colors together. Right now, looking out my window I see the golden-orange of a California poppy with its feathery gray-green leaves against the damp brown earth. Thank you for your generous giveaway

    Christine Bolin says:

    My favorite colors together are purple and yellow.

    Tamie Herin says:

    I love magenta and mustard. Looks like a great book.

    Beth T. says:

    Favorite color combo right now? Plum and orange.

    Beth T. says:

    Favorite color combo right now? Plum and orange.

    Carmen N says:

    Right now my favorites are earth tones such as blues, greens and browns

    Allison C says:

    I love aqua and gray

    Heather Cawte says:

    I love dark green with copper, or hot pink with orange!

    carrie p. says:

    my favorite color combinations is green and brown.

    Julia McGuire says:

    I think this will be a valuable workshop to anyone who works with color, not just needlecrafters. Thank you!

    Cinzia White says:

    I love the traditional colours..maroon, navy and bottle green.

    Cindy Dahlgren says:

    I like the colors of red, aqua and yellow together. This is an awesome book, I hope I win it! Thanks gor the giveaway!

    Kimberly says:

    I like red and brown together. And of course red and green are classic.

    Lesley says:

    I’ve been liking red, orange, yellow, pink–feels like a sunset and makes me happy

    Anne says:

    I’m particularly fond of combinations of different shades of purples, greens, and blues.

    Stitchmill says:

    I love puple an blue together

    Melissa Graham says:

    Blues, purples, pinks and yellows.

    Dora says:

    Orange, grey, turquoise, navy blue

    Hannah Six says:

    I have a favorite fabric swatch right now, which includes red, light green, coral, and a tiny bit of orange on a cream ground.

    Mie says:

    I like blues, greens, and reds

    Tabitha Swain Klucking says:

    Lately, I’ve been liking light blue and bright red. Love Carina’s stuff!!!!

    Sue Smith says:

    It’s so hard to choose; I love blue and green combo’s but also love aqua with lemon and coral. Great colour wheel explanation! I finally got it!! Thank you :)

    Although I’ve done colour theory before, this is a wonderful refresher and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series :) My all time favourite colour combination is pink and yellow!

    Jess says:

    I really like green and brown. I always appreciate education in color theory!

    Elizabeth says:

    I love this question and reading everyone’s answers! I was thinking: Navy blue and bright pink, but after reading Tabitha (below) I have to say I am also a fan for red and ligh blue together. Its just so fun to think aobut this – great post!

    Tabitha K. says:

    I love blue, red and cream at the moment. Thanks!

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    Jennifer R. says:

    I love this. My favorite color combinations are orange and turquoise.

    Denna Anderson says:

    my combos are blue and green and any thing in between

    Rebecca Greco says:

    I love colors, the more the better! I love bright pinks and teal and yellow.

    Rachel B says:

    I have recently fallen in love with tangerine and blackberry together.

    [...] Carina Envoldsen-Harris, author of Stitched Blooms, is leading a special Color Workshop in three parts here on the Lark blog. From reviewing basic color theory to showing us how to select colors for our projects, Carina will share her expertise of all things color. You can find Carina’s first Color Workshop post here. [...]

    [...] Blooms author Carina Envoldsen-Harris’s Color Workshop. You can read the first two posts here and [...]

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