Friday, 21 October 2016

Color Inpiration with Courtney {Desert Dusk Mandala Madness}

I'm really privileged as I journey with yarn to meet some totally fabulous people and to make some friendships that I know will last for the rest of my life. My friendship with Courtney is one of those special miracles that keep on blessing me through and through.

I love her eye for colour, she produces the most amazing palettes and I love to help people, which she does too. So when I asked her to do a guest blog post for me on colour choice and colour inspiration, Courtney jumped at the chance. I'm thrilled to pieces with what she has written for you, and I hope that we'll be able to bring more colour creativity to you in the future. I also hope that you enjoy reading this as much as I did, I know I learned a thing or two. 


Color Inspiration with Courtney 

(Desert Dusk Mandala Madness) 

One of the questions I am most often asked is where I come up with my color combinations in my crochet projects.  The simple truth is that I pull inspiration from the world around me.  I see color everywhere and paint that color into my fiber work. 

Today I would like to talk about the inspiration behind one of those projects and show you how I pulled the colors from an object in my home and translated them into a crochet project.

The project I’m going to be talking about today is my {Desert Dusk} version of Mandala Madness by Helen Shrimpton.  The pattern for this project is available here:  Mandala Madness Pattern

When I decided to do this project it was a crochet along and so the finished piece was a mystery.  I was having very real trouble picking a color palette without knowing what the final piece would look like.  I could not settle on anything that thrilled me.  I had just come home from a trip to Arizona, where I’m from, and a funeral, and I was missing my desert home.  I was wandering around my house thinking about home and at that moment my eyes fell on a small hand thrown Native American Pot that I had purchased on one of my many drives through the Painted Desert in Arizona… and I knew I had found my inspiration.


Finding the inspiration for your colors is the first step and it’s your biggest hurdle.  You need to choose something that speaks to you.  An inspiration piece that is just that, inspiration.  This piece speaks of the warmth of the desert days, the colors and the heat and the stark contrast of mountains unrelieved by vegetation or moisture.  Garnering color only from the sun.  It is a true representation of home for me and so it speaks to me.  

When you choose something to pull color from you need to choose something that speaks equally to you for your own reasons.

The next step is deciding which colors to pull from the inspiration piece.  In this particular piece there aren’t many colors so I pulled them all.  The dusty orange, the gold, the charcoal, the silver, the denim blue, and the icy blue. Six colors all contrasting each other would make my palette.

When choosing your colors, you want to pay attention to basic color theory.  Now color theory is a huge concept that fills encyclopedias and has been argued by scientists and painters and changed through the centuries.   But it honestly doesn’t have to be intimidating.  

My preferred method is to have contrasting colors, cool colors, and warm colors and some form of neutral that allows me to play them off of each other.  For this project I knew I wanted the orange and the gold so I made sure I had the blues as a cool color and then the two colors of grey to be a neutral base color to set off those bold contrasting colors.

For more information on color theory feel free to explore, there are some fairly easy to use tools available.  Here are a few wonderful links to start with if you are interested. 

This link will explain basic beginner color theory:

This link will give you an idea of how to choose your colors based on the color wheel:

I set about pulling these colors from my stash yarns and you can see a little more about that and see how each section progressed in my project page here:  {Desert Dusk}

 If you are interested in reproducing this colorway, I have worked out it’s equivalent for you in Stylecraft Special DK.  The following colors should give you a very similar pallet in a very lovely soft and versatile yarn. 

Spice 1711
Mustard 1823
Aster 1003
Sherbert 1034
Graphite 1063
Silver 1203

A very good tool for learning how to draw colors from an object or picture is a color palette picture.  You can find these in multitude on Pinterest.  I have a Color Inspiration Board which I invite you to take a look at:  My Color Inspiration Board 

Color inspiration can be found anywhere.  I have found it in a field of flowers and in a woman’s winter coat while she had lunch with her children, as well as in many of the things in my own home.  I wonder if you will find inspiration in your own home?  The things you surround yourself with would not be sitting on your shelves and tucked away in your corners if you weren’t drawn to them. 

Until next time,

Courtney a.k.a. Spin A Yarn 32

You can find Courtney at the following places:
Spin a Yarn 32 on Facebook

Spin a Yarn 32 on Ravelry
Spin a Yarn 32 on Etsy


  1. I loved your piece the moment I saw those first few rounds of it on FB. Kinda lost track of it after that. So glad to see it here and see the whole thing. Beautiful job and thank you for your thought process. M

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