Discovering the Color Wheel

So in those spare moments that you’re sitting around thinking about color and color theory (which for a color geek like myself may be more often than I care to admit), what comes to your mind? Why a color wheel, of course! Really, what is a color wheel, and why do we like to put color into such a simple form?

To get the boring definitions out of the way, here’s what technically a color wheel is:

Wikipedia defines a color wheel as “an abstract illustrative organization of color hues around a circle that shows relationships between primary colors, secondary colors, complementary colors, etc.”

Whew! Now that’s over. Basically, as Wikipedia nicely points out, a color wheel simply shows relationships between colors. Why a wheel? By putting it in the round shape, we recognize that all the colors relate to each other. Whether it shows the 7 colors of ROY G BIV (more to share about that later in a future article), or the 12 colors stemming from red, blue, and yellow, there is no stopping point – the colors simply transition from one to the next. But in playing with color, you don’t have to just play with the wheel. Some of my favorite studies are when I’m simply wanting to see how a certain color transitions to another color.

Whatever the shape, it’s just plain fun for me to see how colors relate to each other!

During my days in college, as I studied interior design in the fine arts department, I of course, spent lots of time playing with color. As most artists and students do, we had one class where we had to paint our own color wheel. No, we weren’t given the 36 tubes of paint to use, each perfectly tinted to the 36 areas of the wheel. Heck, we didn’t even get the 12 tubes of primary colors, along with white and black. Yes, we had the opportunity to try to mix our own version of the perfect color wheel using red, blue, yellow, white, and black acrylic paint. I’m going to confess, me and paints and mixing colors do NOT get along! My color wheel, as you can see above, may not have been the prettiest one in the class. Believe me, it wasn’t! But going through the exercise of mixing the colors myself really taught me a lot about how color works.

Today, I do love playing with colors and
their relationships with each other. But now I get to do so with either my mouse, touch screen, or even in fabric or thread. In designing my blackwork, I’m always trying out lots of different combinations of threads to see how they showcase the blackwork fills. Just adding a second color to the fill, or playing different colors in different blocks of fills, can entirely change the look of the designs.

Here’s a sneak peak at something that you’ll begin to see here in Simply Color! From time to time I’ll be sharing with you actual thread schemes that you can bring into your projects. I’ll be playing with all kinds of threads, and you simply will be able to dig into your stash, or go to your LNS, and pick them up. You’ll also be finding suggestions for thread combinations using these schemes on your favorite Stitchin’spiration blackwork designs on the Stitchin’spiration website.

What are your favorite colors, and what combinations would you like me to play with for you? Share them here, and keep an eye out for them.

Happy stitchin’!
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