Color Explosion Throw: Weirdies

By Ann Shayne
October 26, 2021

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43 Comments
  • For a few colorwork projects I’ve knit I’ve put the balls of different colors in a bag and whatever ball I pick out is the next color I use. I’ve been amazed at how much I’ve liked the look and the nice comments I’ve gotten on the end result. Not trying to match can really work well.

    • I love the subtlety of the shades. Don’t edit it.

  • What a metaphor your stripes are! The big picture is so different from the small. I love the flow of your colors!

  • I’m 2/3 of the way through my first strip and keep holding it up and asking my husband “Is it ugly yet? It’s ugly, right?” Last night he said “It’s getting there.” I’m sticking with the pattern, but it is taking so much willpower!

    • I felt the same way early on the first strip but now as I near the end, it’s really quite lovely! Curious about strip number 2! Stick with it!

  • Oooh! I love it! I have to say the incomparable Cecelia changed my world with her review of my swatches! Mine will be so much more interesting now!

  • It seems to me that the main unifying factor in this blanket is the strong stitch pattern itself so we can get away with all sorts of weirdness — although for me that would be some repetition of color in at least one of the colors in that weird square 1 or 2 times elsewhere in the blanket. (That’s my theory Today – and I may or may not stick to it once I’m in the thick of it.) I love the spontaneity that both Kaffe and Cecilia espouse. My 8th grade art teacher picked out the one oddity in my 16-square exercise paper where we were supposed to “think up” 16 different patterns – one for every square. When I had run out of the predictable, conventional ones, I was forced to work out of my own mind and that was the one she zeroed in on to compliment me about. We are all taught so many rules, we need the Kaffes and Cecilias to remind us to break them every now and then. Thanks, MDK, for highlighting the fun of Thinking Outside the Box to this positively infinite craft of knitting.

    • Yes, the stitch pattern, square in square, is similar to a colour discovery project I had my students work through, making mats in as many pairs of colours of construction paper as my school offered. The point was to find out which combinations students liked. Here we’re doing something similar on a really big scale!

      Love your growing throw Ann, and was struck by the difference between two strips and three.

    • I totally agree with you Chloe!

  • P.S. I love that one rust-colored stripe in your blanket and I don’t see it repeated anywhere! So much for my “theory”!?

  • The problem is that the chair seats work well with the weirdies in the throw. To avoid the matchy-matchy look, reupholster the chairs. A buffalo plaid in chartreuse and mauve would work to make the throw seem positively beige. Problem solved!

    • Really lovely. Interesting how the overview gives that needed perspective

  • OK, but mustard on turkey?

  • I keep that comment from Cecelia in my head as I knit my scarf as well!

    I love yours.

  • I love your throw in Mohonk Light. How to decide which yarn for my own Color Explosion Throw??????

  • Yours looks great! I am currently knitting the kit, and I’m addicted. I would love to do another featuring blues, but don’t know how to begin choosing shades and complementary (or not) colors. Any tips?

    • Pick out a bunch of blues you like, then quickly grab any random colors nearby. Don’t even think about them. It will work out, I promise! As Patricia Werner, another knitting designer once said, “No colors clash in Nature.”

      • Ooohhhh….. I can actually picture that in my head! Thank you! Bonus, I have a lot of blue so that would “blend” with my space and all the other colors would give it some life! I legit hadn’t even considered tackling a blanket (it’s so big!) but I love seeing ones people have knit. All the colors in this one would drive me a little batty I think but if I did half blue and half all the other colors – oh, I like that!
        First, I will get through my queue of projects, then maybe I’ll knit a blanket!

  • Your blanket reminds me of the forest floor this time of year. It’s beautiful!

  • I’d say it’s “harmonious with the color story in your kitchen” and be super tempted to put it on the bench in the background in case coziness is needed during breakfast.

  • This is quite beautiful, all in terms of color, speed and effort! The roving colors are really remarkable in that each stands proudly alone, yet joins in with the others when seen as the big picture – much like houses on a street and the different people who live in them. I, too, would never think to put those colors next to one another, but how much more lovely they are when they just come out and frolic.

  • It’s not matchy, it’s jives with the chair ! I’m not a neutral color person so I love the little pop of strong color you have but everything seems to play nice and it fits your surroundings, so on to the 4th strip.

  • Anti-matchy is my personal style and it works ALMOST every time, but matchy-matchy NEVER works! IMHO. Your throw is surprising and brilliant and I’m glad you chose such a divergent buncha colors. I LOVE the mohonk rainbow.

  • Do not edit it, it looks very very nice.

  • A symphony of neutrals.

  • Your blanket is stunning. Comfortingly familiar and modern at the same time. A new family heirloom.

  • I think this is one of the things I’ve learned from other people’s kits and color choices. That range of my favorite, harmonious colors is boring. It’s always that one color you hate that makes a multi-color project sing (or zing). The hard part for me, is figuring out what that color needs to be if I *do* tweak the colors or make my own choices. Having a recipe, like for this blanket, helps.

  • It IS beautiful !!!

  • Don’t change your chair seats! They do not look matchy-matchy! They are pleasingly and uniquely coordinated. I love them together.

  • Your throw is beautiful! I’m knitting the kit and have been soothing my doubts by adopting the mantra “trust the pattern and process.” Granted, I’m not that far into it, but every combination is weird to me so far.

  • I’ve been thinking of my color card as “the randomizer.” It helps me let go of my own ideas about what “should” go together.

    I love this project SO much.

  • I’m thinking about always picking yarn that you like to knit a project. I do think that we do fall back on color schemes that we know we’ll like. I’ve been combining some leftover yarn to knit some dishcloths (small projects) to see how I like the combinations. So far the combinations have looked good. I think there is a lesson there, somewhere. I love your version, Ann.

  • So, so wonderful. When I get to this one, I’ll be in full time editing-self-restraint mode!! It will be good medicine!

    • Well ladies I have to be honest, and say that I have been casting a hairy eyeball on this whole marling thing. It felt to me like the Noro thing, and I just couldn’t board the train on that one either. Yet I recognized that the blankets created and cranked out from Mr. Noro’s goods were indeed quite beautiful.

      Now, I am completely captivated by Cecelia‘s brilliance. I mean, I think I’m the only person who’s still knitting the Freak Flags from her first field guide! And even though I seriously want a parallelogram, now I’m going to have to jump straight over to the Marlogram (soon as I can find some $$). The wisdom of nature & Kaffe cannot go wrong! Farewell “good taste,” hello Good Times! Big Mwah to all you bold free-wheelin knitters!

  • So lovely! I especially like the “matchy” revelation between blanket and chairs. Such a nice synchronicity.

  • Your post arrived just in time. I have been muttering about some of the color combinations in the first strip of my throw (I’m using the prescribed colors), some of them I really don’t like very much. Yesterday I decided to swap out one color, to make a more pink-leaning throw. After reading your letter I have removed the new pink and reinstated Cinnamon which does add a lovely golden hue to the throw. I’m sure it will all look lovely when finished and a little bit of clashing/edginess will add interest and spice.

  • I just received my shipment of Rowan tweeds from MDK…will try to remember to fight the urge to be matcha-matcha. So looking forward to starting this blanket!

  • I am having a similar color crisis dilemma as I choose paint colors for the interior of my home. I had the luxury of working with an expert the last time I undertook such a project. He chose colors I never would have selected on my own…and they were perfect. I really never would have put the mint green ceiling with the deep red walls…or chosen coco/milky coffee brown for the living room…Once everything was back in place, my husband came home and asked if we were doing a magazine spread. The decorator had really considered my existing pieces and coordinated everything. I totally look to people who know how to work with color. Now I just need to find someone to provide guidance for this project….

  • When I heard KF say to fight against your own good taste, it really resonated. I am working on a Hana sweater with three colors, and though there is nothing in the pattern about marling, I have decided to throw in some random marling here and there. In my head, the sweater will be a knit sweater version of a well loved patchwork quilt. As I insert a section of marling, my first thoughts are this will look chaotic – but I have held against frogging and I am going to keep going.

  • I watched a video on colour theory for stranded knitting once. I can’t remember anything except the bit where he recommended that you should add in a colour you hate. It did seem to work for him but I have trouble doing it!

  • I love the colors in your throw, Ann! They look great in combination – the weirdies and the sublimes alike. Thanks for sharing your thought process, and for not giving in to the temptation to ‘edit’ the color combinations. Can’t wait to see the final result.

  • Mustard on a turkey sandwich? Never!!!

  • Years ago (1991? 92?!), I had the opportunity to take a workshop with Kaffe. We were given a postcard picture of a work of art… and we had to “knit” it. I picked an “ugly” (to me) picture because I wanted to stretch myself… I still have the pillow size swatch… and I LOVE “the ugly”!