Galloway: Creating a Color Story
Posted by Christina Rondepierre on
The Scandinavian-inspired Galloway cardigan is the perfect blank canvas for knitters wanting to explore “painting with yarn.” Stranded garments that use four colors, like this one, offer a staggering range of possibilities for how your finished sweater looks; the colorway shown in our photos is just one of hundreds of ways you could interpret the design. When Jared was creating this garment, he tested many color combinations and came up with a total of eight color combinations to get your gears turning. We’re also providing some resources about hue and value to help you make informed color decisions for your own project.
Understanding ColorGenerally speaking, the goal of selecting a color palette for colorwork knitting is to ensure the pattern will be easily discernible in the finished fabric, and not muddied or lost among neighboring colors. Both the hue and value of a color are essential considerations in determining how successful your chosen colorway will be. Simply put, value refers to a color’s relative degree of lightness or darkness (picture a greyscale) and hue is the noticeable attribute of a color (redness, greenness, etc.) If these terms or concepts are new to you, check out an in-depth explanation about hue and value in Jared’s post about color theory.
Color Values in the Shelter Palette
Above we’ve shown the Shelter palette broken down into three value categories: dark, medium, and light. In the Galloway pattern, four colors are used to knit the cardigan. Selecting the background color first (C1 in Galloway) will allow you to make better decisions about the rest of your palette, so we recommend you start there. Selecting colors from all three categories (light, medium, and dark) is always the best approach to stranded colorwork, especially with smaller motifs. When yarns from all three categories are represented, the pattern will have visual “pop.” Alternatively, if multiple colors of very similar values are used, pattern motifs will be difficult to discern. To give you a sense of the different values used in our samples, we’ve written them down for you here. Use the value categories, corresponding colorways, and the samples listed below as a guide to mix and match your own combinations.
As you can see, some of the mid-values may be used as darks because their hue is so strong/bright that they will hold their own against dark neutrals. With color, everything depends on relative combinations — meaning rules can often be broken — but using the dark/medium/light value approach is a great starting point for color planning, especially if these concepts are new for you.
Compare Colors on Our WebsiteOur yarn product pages feature a useful “Compare Colors” feature aimed to help knitters in color selection. On the Shelter yarn page, select the Compare Colors button just above the color selection box. Once open you can select the colors in the palette and reorganize or remove them to view colors side-by-side.
Additional Color Palette InspirationThe Grettir pullover also requires four colors of Shelter to knit. For additional color palette inspiration on a similar-style project to Galloway, check out the Grettir projects knit with Shelter on Ravelry.
Speed Swatching for Circular KnittingOnce you’ve made a decision about a final colorway using the above information, it’s time to swatch and test your choices! In knitting, there is simply no substitution for knitting a swatch to see how the finished fabric will appear, and this has never been more true with colorwork. Even experienced colorwork knitters sometimes are surprised by their results with a given color combination after swatching, and it’s always better to be surprised — whether positively or otherwise — on a swatch than on your finished garment! The Galloway pattern includes instructions on how to speed swatch in the round for colorwork patterns. After swatching, you may find that you need to swap the position of two or more of your colors to achieve a more visually interesting fabric, or even replace one or more of your initial choices to finesse a fabric that needs a touch more contrast. (And even if you’re using one of our pre-selected color palettes, speed swatching is still important in order to ensure you’re getting gauge!)
We’re Here to HelpAlthough the Galloway pattern is considered advanced, the required techniques are described at length in the pattern and we’re always here to help. You can reach us on Ravelry in the Brooklyn Tweed Fan Club group or email our pattern support specialist directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Perhaps you’ll challenge yourself to knit this eye-catching colorwork cardigan during the BT Fall 17 KAL. If so, we’ll be right there with you every step of the way.