Feb 28, 2016

7 Cheerful Rainbow Color Combos

Rainbows are magical. This is true whether they appear in the sky after a rainstorm or build slowly as yarn flows through our fingers. Either way, it's safe to say few things are as cheerful and uplifting as a rainbow.

I've been thinking about this for many reasons. 

There are babies in our future, and rainbow colors are a go-to solution because (just like babies), they're so very hard to resist. There's a fresh project on the drawing board, which among other things features an array of rainbow shades. And, there's the purely practical realization that rainbow color schemes are one of the best ways to transform orphan and partial skeins into something pretty and productive.

With these factors in mind, I've been experimenting with various rainbow combinations. In a perfect world, all these shades would be living in the stash so I could share sample swatches. Since the world is less than perfect, we'll have to make due with these examples:

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple

Currant, copper, old gold, forest, indigo, blackberry

Coral, peach, buttercup, leaf, periwinkle, lilac


Garnet, amber, citrine, emerald, lapis, amethyst

Dusty rose, faded apricot, sand, sage, denim, tanzanite

Rose, honey, butter, mint, sky, lavender

Fuchsia, tangerine, lemon, lime, turquoise, grape

Fun and frivolous or subdued and (almost) sophisticated, rainbows are the personification of optimism. There are so many variations, it's impossible to show them all and this handful of examples barely begins to scratch the possibilities. 

It wasn't until I started working on this post that I realized just how many of my projects feature some type of rainbow scheme. Color Check, the most recent example, actually incorporates several rainbow combinations (gemtones, soft, vivid) in one piece. 

Other projects such as the Breidan Baby afghan, Drumlin afghan and Moore cardigan show different approaches to rainbows, Still others were pre-blog and pre-Ravelry so there are no pictures or links to share, but they range from children's hats and scarves to stroller blankets, a sweet plaid toddler sweater, and more.


Keep in mind, you don't have to work the entire spectrum to create an attractive rainbow effect. The color schemes I've shown feature six shades each, but you could easily drop one or even two colors and have a perfectly recognizable rainbow. (Think about the classic kid combo of pure red, yellow, green and blue, and translate it into a more sophisticated version using wine, gold, emerald and sapphire.)

A few years ago, I was diligently knitting sunshine in an effort to make it through the gloom of winter. This year, with the promise of spring on the horizon, the time feels right to place hope in my heart, put yarn on the needles, and knit a rainbow. Again.

What's your favorite rainbow combination?

For more color talk, check out:

For more rainbow projects, see:


  1. Love them all but for some reason the Muted colors have captured my attention. Hmmm ... off to shop the stash :)

  2. Rainbows are a symbol of hope and promise and I love to see them.
    Another lovely discussion on color.

  3. Oh you just can't beat a good rainbow combination can you - they're ALL gorgeous!

  4. These are such lovely color combinations! I love gemtones and the muted.

  5. I love all those different rainbow combinations!! And I agree it is always a good idea to have a rainbow on the needles.....especially now when the hope of Spring is right around the corner!

  6. I could look at these combos forever! Your blanket is so lovely!


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