Life is full of decisions and as a woman, mother and business-owner, I’m struck with “decision-fatigue” more often than I’d like.

I can cope with not knowing what I fancy for dinner, or what I feel like watching on the tv, but if decision-fatigue strikes when I’m thinking about what colours I want to put together in a shawl … it’s frustrating and makes me feel wobbly – more wobbly than I ought to be feeling.

I find myself thinking: “surely, I should just know what I like together?” “How hard can it be to put three colours together?”

In times like these it can be helpful to have a quick trick up our sleeve.


I love this method, it’s an easy and reliable way of choosing colours and it’s as simple as it sounds:

1 light colour

1 dark colour

1 bright colour

If you’re knitting something in three colours, use all three.

Two colours? Try choosing two skeins from the light-dark-bright combo.

When you’re working on something with four or more colours, choose a background colour and combine that with a light-bright-dark combo.

Try opening up your skeins and laying them out when you’re deciding. You’ll see more of the colours in the skein and it’ll help figure out what the combo will look like on a larger scale.

Not sure which shades are light, dark or bright? Start with shades you know for sure are light, dark and bright, then slowly work backwards/forwards from that asking yourself all the time … is it still dark? Is it still light? Is it still bright?

You’ll see from my photo that you can get fairly close and still get a great combo.

The brown in my Medley shawl* is dark. The pink is light and the green is bright. They’re all fairly muted earthy tones but distinct enough to fit into this simple combo idea.


Swatching … it’s the best tool in your box!

When you’re putting colours together it really helps to swatch them.

Coloured pencils and big skeins spread out are fine to get the ball rolling, but if you’re still unsure, knitting a handful of rows of stitches will quickly tell you whether they work together, which will be most dominant, and what will work as more of a background colour.

You’ll discover if colours blur together or pop against one another.

You don’t have to break your yarn, or block your swatch. You don’t have to knit for inches and inches, or waste yarn at all.

Just knit a bit, alternate your colours, or work a bit of the pattern you have in mind, until you have enough to give you a good idea if YOU like the colours together, and whether they sing together.


Remember to listen to your gut. What is it telling you?

Don’t listen for actual words, they may never come and our brain has a habit of making us doubt ourselves and of getting in the way.

Instead, stay open to any visceral responses you have to the colours in front of you:

  • Did your heart skip a beat? Do you feel butterflies? Does this combo take your breath away? Probably good signs.
  • Do you feel your brow furrow, are you holding your breath, or are you feeling a pit in your stomach? Not such good signs!

Nobody knows what you like, love or prefer, better than you.

Keep things simple, avoid turning this into a heavy-feeling decision, and trust that the right combo will appear.

And mostly, HAVE FUN!

*Medley shawl was the first free pattern available in Wardrobe Toolbox. You can get on the waiting list for Wardrobe Toolbox here.

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