Have you ever had that problem: there’s a pattern you want to make, but you just have no idea what colours to use?
I had that dilemma recently when I wanted to make the Sofia tunic top found on Ravelry. I already had a bunch of yarns that I could use for it; none of them remotely resembling the colours in the example on the pattern page.
I had such a strange combination of colours in my stash that I really wasn’t sure how I wanted to combine them. So I thought I would try to create a mock-up in an image editor.
While the mock-up is a bit rough, it was enough to give me an idea of which colours to use, which order to put the colours in, and the confidence to go ahead and start making it.
I have a friend that has asked me to tell her how I did this, so I thought I would show the rest of the world too!
Steps to visualize your pattern colours
These steps are demonstrated in the video below using the Flower Motif Shawl as an example.
- Install some image editing software, if you don’t already have any (it should be able to use layers for this technique to work)
- Photoshop is popular and you can use that if you have it
- GIMP is a free and open source image editor for Windows, Mac, and Linux
- I use Pixelmator on my Mac, which I like a lot, and it has a free trial
- I haven’t used Acorn for a long time, but it is also a nice option on Mac
- I have only used GIMP on Windows, but apparently Paint.NET works too
- Find and copy an image
You may be able to just right click and copy the image and then paste it in the editor, otherwise right click on the image and “Save Image As”, then open the image file in the editor.
- Turn the image to black and white
Your editor may have a black and white filter, or you can desaturate the image.
- Create a new layer
- Choose a colour that seems close to your yarn colour and start painting on the new layer, over one section of the pattern
- On the new layer change the layer blending mode to Soft Light
You can also use Hard Light, Overlay (which I used for the Sofia top), or Color: use whichever blending mode seems good for your image. I thought Soft Light was most suitable in the video below.
- Continue painting over the image as needed until you are satisfied with your colour arrangement