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Expert Tip: How to Picture a Pattern in an Alternate Color

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Expert Tip: How to Picture a Pattern in an Alternate Color

Working in the yarn industry, I constantly learn from the experts that I meet on the job. One of my favorite tips is from designer Sally Melville. (I’ve interviewed her twice for our podcast, YarnCraftcheck out the first and second episodes featuring Sally).

How often have you looked at a pattern and thought, “That’s definitely not my color”? Sally pointed out that sometimes the color choice deters us from a project that we would otherwise like!


However, she said, it’s easier to picture the garment in other colors when it’s in black and white. Therefore, she recommended that you copy the photo in black and white (if you have access to a photo-copier) or, if you’re more high tech, you desaturate/grayscale the photo on your computer.

It’s great for solid designs, as well as multicolor designs (you can better picture them in a solid or in different color combinations). Use colored pencils or markers (or paint tools on your computer) to start shading in with colors that appeal to you!

What a great and easy tip!

[Pattern pictured: Knit Lush Collared Blue Cardi]

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  • Wow, I have never been deterred from making a pattern that I like just because the project in the photo was in a color I don’t like. I very rarely make a project in the same color as the original and I have no trouble with picturing it in a different color in my mind. In fact, there is a kimono style sweater that I plan to make soon that was originally done in this very boring light blue, and I thought “that would look great in cherry blossom pink!” I now have an image of that sweater in pink so vividly solidified in my brain that it surprises me to look at the actual pattern and see a blue sweater! Maybe that’s just me…

    • i personally agree with you 100%, although according to a friend of mine a lot of people actually don’t have the ability to picture things in their minds, apparently in general it sort of coincides with being artistic? like creative types are more likely to be able to picture or imagine things vividly than others. i have no idea if hes actually correct about that but hes generally right about most things so im inclined to believe him, it did surprise me (i can’t imagine not being able to picture something in my mind) but it would make sense i suppose… just my random two cents 🙂

      • also i feel like that would make reading books really boring.. maybe thats why some people hate reading?

  • I can’t remember a time when I made a project in the color shown. I always see them in very personal ways and find colors that are to my liking. Interesting to know that not everyone does this. Thanks for the tips on how to find colors to suit our own preferences!

  • its called spatial reasoning. I have almost no ability to get a picture in my mind of anything like paint on a wall, a pattern in another color, what material would look like made up, etc etc etc. it is a real problem!!!

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