This post is for those of you who are curious about how I choose the colors and striping for one of my ripple afghans. If that’s not your thing, feel free to quickly scroll down and see the color plan I’ll be following to crochet ripple #18. The rest of us will take the slower and more convoluted route following my step-by-step procedure.
Start with more colors than you’ll need
My charity yarn stash is up in the attic which is lit by fluorescent shop lights that distort colors, so I usually choose yarns rather liberally while up there and then look at the colors again downstairs, where there is a mix of incandescent and natural light. I’m planning this ripple around a variegated yarn which has olive-green, burnt orange and pale yellow in it. I start out with two similar yellows, three different greens and a soft orange. Emily does not seem impressed at this point.
Which ones work best together?
It only takes a glance for me to realize the darkest green is far too blue, so I drop it, and as soon as it’s gone I see I have to choose between the two remaining greens. They don’t work well together.
The group with the olive is rather quiet. The bit of green within the variegated yarn feels bright in comparison and the orange is the dominant color in this mix. The group with the dark green has more going on with both orange and dark green playing important roles. I choose the second group.
Do I have enough yarn for a blanket?
I weigh all the yarn together to make sure I have at least 24 ounces, which is the average weight of one of my kids’ ripples, finished size about 36″ x 54″.
Next I weigh each color. An ounce of worsted weight yarn makes at least three double-crocheted ripple rows, so I multiply the number of ounces times three to find out how many rows I can make from each color.
weight in ounces x 3 = rows
light yellow 2 x 3 = 6
yellow 2 6
light orange 10 30
green 10 30
vrgtd.* 7 21
total 31 oz. 93 rows
*note: from now on I’ll refer to the variegated yarn as vrgtd.
My kids’ ripples are only about 84 rows long. I have enough yarn here to make 93 rows, which is plenty.
To make planning the stripes easier, I’m going to make the number of rows for each color divisible by 12. The two Yellows together will make 12 rows + Orange 24 rows + Green 24 + Vrgtd. 24 = 84 rows. I know I can increase the number of rows made from the variegated from 21 to 24, because there’s more of that yarn upstairs.
Balancing dark and light colors
Now I’m down to an appropriate total number of rows, 84, but when I look at the amounts and strengths of the colors, I think there’s way too much of the green. The darkest color in my mix, I want the green to play the role of an accent more than a main color, so I cut it back to twelve rows.
Yellows 12 + Green 12 + Orange 24 + Vrgtd. 24 = 72 rows
That change leaves my afghan plan twelve rows short of my usual 84. I consider using all 30 rows of the orange, but that’s only six more rows, which would still leave me short. How about adding some white? I run back upstairs and grab two whites. One is an unraveled ball that has a slight cream cast. The other is a partial skein of a cold white. I weigh them and find out they each weigh about five ounces, so I could make about fifteen rows of either one.
I decide I’ll use the warmer one, which seems a little more subtle with this group of colors.
White 12 + Yellows 12 + Green 12 + Orange 24 + Vrgtd. 24 = 84 rows
Organizing color order
How am I going to arrange these five colors? I have twice as much of the orange and vrgtd. as any of the other colors, so I know I can use them for twice as many rows. The next step is simply trial and error. Using two skeins/balls each of the orange and vrgtd. and one each of the yellow, green and white, I just play around. There are many possibilities.
I choose this sequence of colors (each color is represented by its first letter):
O V G V O – Y – O V G V O – W – and so on. . .
Notice that I separated the two rows of vrgtd. in each group with a single row of green. I usually do that because of the crazy ways multiple rows of vrgtd. can look. It would make this into a very busy looking blanket and I think it already plenty going on.
Deciding widths of stripes
I reconsider my color plan. It’s all single rows of color. That means many color changes, which slow down my crocheting, and the afghan will be more interesting to look at if there are some different widths of stripes. So, I’m going to change to double and triple rows.
W OVGVO Y OVGVO W OVGVO Y OVGVO W OVGVO Y OVGVO W
3 2 each 3 2 ea 3 2 ea 3 2 ea 3 2 ea 3 2 ea 3 = 81
A final tweak
This plan leaves me three rows short in blanket length and has white used on the blanket’s ends. I don’t like to put a light color there. I figure kids’ blankets are going to receive heavy use and the ends are going to get soiled and damaged first. Using a medium or dark color instead will be more practical.
Going back to my original weight chart, I remind myself that I have extra green and orange yarns. Putting two more rows of orange on both ends will solve both the white ends and the short blanket problem at once. It also repeats the two rows of orange that come before and after the groups of three rows of white within the blanket, so it’ll look very natural, continuing the stripe pattern.
O W OVGVO Y OVGVO W OVGVO Y OVGVO W OVGVO Y OVGVO W O
2 3 2 each 3 2 ea 3 2 ea 3 2 ea 3 2 ea 3 2 ea 3 2 = 83
Finally, I feel ready to grab my hook and crochet!!
If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy reading “Choosing Colors for the Easter Basket”.
P.S. Go here to read about my next step in making this ripple.