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Crafting, Color Blindness, and Changes in Color Perception

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Crafting, Color Blindness, and Changes in Color Perception

Crafting, Color Blindness, and Changes in Color Perception
In this guest post by Phyllis Alberici, she explores crafting with color blindness, and how to choose a color palette with color perception in mind.

You’re out shopping for yarn and having a difficult time choosing colors, so you decide to ask another shopper or the sales person for an opinion on a color you chose. You thought you were holding a pretty blue-green but you’re told it’s just green or just blue or maybe even turquoise.

Have you had this experience?

We each “see” color and hue a little differently but color blindness, medications and certain illnesses can also change how we perceive color.

There’s a long list of medical conditions that can affect our color perception: diabetes, glaucoma, cataracts, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and liver disease are just a few. Some medications, including antibiotics and medicines used to treat psychological illnesses and high blood pressure can also affect our eyes.

True color blindness doesn’t mean you can’t see color but it creates difficulty seeing the differences between certain colors. It can also make it difficult to distinguish between certain shades, or hues, of some colors.

How does a color blind crafter, or crafter with medical issues that affect color, work with color? Here are a few simple ideas to make your knitting and crocheting easier:

  1. Use contrast in choosing colors but try to avoid either very dark colors together or very bright colors together. In general, dark shades of red will look like dark brown for those who are red/green color blind and dark greens will look more grey or taupe.
  1. Before you head out to choose yarn, the Colblindor Color Blindness Simulator might help you make the right color choices. Just upload a photo and then click through the different types of color blindness to see what the yarn will look like.
  1. If you’re making a gift for someone who has difficulty with color perception, take a look at the colors they wear most often or just ask what they prefer. Choose something with enough contrast so that colors don’t look muddy.
  1. In general, the more pure the hue the better. That orangey red or blue grey might not work but a true red or blue might.
  1. Take a photo with your phone or a camera set on the black and white setting when you choose yarn for a color blind friend. This helps to “see” the contrasts as the color blind person does.


If you’ve knitted or crocheted for someone who is color blind, or has difficulty with color perception, how do you choose color combinations?

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  • As a person with a color disability, I have always opted towards more pure colors when I am doing my crochet. I was diagnosed with color blindness in my early 20’s and had already been crocheting and doing cross stitch since I was quite small. I’ve learned to adapt to newer yarn colors by having people pick out colors that they would like when I am doing a project specifically for them. It’s been working for me for over 30 years. 🙂

  • I had cataract surgery on one eye a little over a year ago, and when I looked at my knitting after the surgery, I was amazed at how bright the yarns I have been using for the last several years are. Fortunately I still like the yarn colors even when I see how bright they are, but I understand better why some of us older folk look so gaudy. I am not the only person to develop cataracts without really noticing. The one that was operated on had me almost totally blind in that eye, but I had no idea how brown the cataract in my clearer eye made everything look. My contrast between my color perception in my two eyes is very educational.

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