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Using Yarn Colors To Make Projects Distinctive – Part Four, Afghans And Throws
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Judicious choices of yarns of a different color than the color illustration associated with the pattern can make a distinctive, special touch for many kinds of knit or crocheted projects.

Depending on the particular pattern, you can accomplish this either less readily or more readily with an afghan or a throw than with a pattern like a shawl, sweater, or any kind of baby pattern.

To clarify: an afghan is a knitted or crocheted blanket-sized piece meant for use as a bed-covering for warmth much as a blanket is used, although some people who own them instead drape them as a decorative fixture over the back of a couch, easy chair, recliner, rocking chair or even a hope chest type piece of furniture. In some instances, afghans may be used for warmth in colder weather and then switched over to a display piece to keep them in practical use during warmer weather. An afghan is typically large enough to cover a full-size bed, although may not be large enough to drape over the sides of the bed: depending on the pattern.

A throw is also a blanket-like piece, but is closer to the size of a twin bed and some throws are even smaller than that. A throw may find use either as a “blanket” type covering on its own, as an additional layer covering on top of other blankets or afghans (in which use a larger throw may be added even in a larger size bed than a twin bed), as a decorative accent piece, as a lap robe, and in some cases even as a kind of shawl.

Some patterns, like ripple afghans, do not lend themselves to color changes.

Others, like granny square afghans and so-called “scrap” afghans [ones designed to use up scrap pieces of yarn in small sections of color at a time] are already designed for an infinite variety of color variations.

Still others in a sense lose their meaning if you change the color scheme: such as a patriotic themed red-white-and-blue pattern or one with a wave-like pattern meant to call the ocean to mind which should remain in the bluish-greenish range.

However, you can take some of these same themes and apply them to certain types of throws and afghans and there are some other simple techniques you can use to create a distinctive, unusual type of afghan or throw using colors different from the original pattern.

You can, in fact, vary a granny square afghan pattern in quite the reverse of the way distinctive color choices normally flow. Normally, granny square afghans incorporate a wide spectrum of colors. One way to make a granny square afghan distinctive is to use a unified color scheme. My grandmother made several granny square afghans over the years, and in some cases she asked people to give her color choices. One of my aunts did so and requested two or three specific colors. Every square had the same color sequence from round to round. We had all seen many of my grandmother’s afghans at different homes during the years and although all were different all the others incorporated a wide range of color. In some ways, the one that had only a few colors and uniform squares became more striking for its distinctiveness, therefore.

Another way of creating a distinctive afghan or throw using color is also to use a variegated yarn for a pattern that has a solid color illustration. You will not, however, want to combine this with such patterns as lacy openwork knit patterns or with intricate crochet pattern stitches like popcorn. Doing so will cause the pattern to get lost in the variegated yarn.

One type of afghan or throw pattern that lends itself well to using yarn colors in distinctive ways is the afghan knitted in strips. Here, you can give imagination free rein to create something unusual and distinctive. You might want to do the strips in favorite colors of the recipient if it is a gift, or in colors coordinated to décor – whether for your own home or as a gift for someone else.

You can also think “theme” in terms of either strip or unified-color afghans. You can probably think of a variety of themes you might apply. One example from my own experience involved a wedding present afghan I made for my brother and sister-in-law. A New England native who much loved the New England autumn foliage, my brother had relocated to the west coast many years before. I chose a color scheme reminiscent of autumn colors, interspersed with strips of white to suggest a dusting of late-autumn frost or snow. You could do the same with a theme related to the ocean by interspersing white strips with blue or green strips. You might choose a series of different shades of blue or green, or all one shade.

Gem tones or Earth tones present other possibilities for themed color schemes. You might even consider finding a chart that relates yarn colors to birthstones and create a color scheme using birthstone-related colors representing the various family members.

One way to add a distinctive color touch to a throw or afghan, although typically easier to do with a crocheted than a knitted afghan or throw, is to add an entirely separate border around the afghan using a different color: which can either coordinate or contrast. You can actually find pattern books that give patterns entirely of separate border patterns. An unusual and distinctive application of this type of scheme could involve a birthstone afghan still in available to the original crafter. Should another child be born (or adopted) into the family after the afghan is made, you can add the child’s birthstone to the scheme by adding an additional round of border relating to the new addition’s birthstone.

Conversely, with knitted patterns, a way to add a distinctive touch using color involves using a contrasting color, or a combination of the afghan color with a contrast such as white, black, or a neutral color to add fringes, tassels, or even pom-poms at the bottom edge of the afghan or the throw.

These are just some ideas of ways to enliven your afghan or throw projects with distinctive color touches.


Street Talk

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