When I first began to crochet as an adult I was in the midst of a deep depression. I went to the store with my mom and picked out some basic Boye hooks and two skeins of yarn – a warm grey and a deep teal. Later, when I began to realize how crochet had helped me heal from depression, I thought it was kind of ironic that I’d chosen to work with blue and grey – colors that we often associate with sadness. But as I began to learn a little bit more about color theory I saw that in a way, those were really the colors that made the most sense for me at the time.
Blue Is Calming
Color science has found that blue is a very calming color. Being in a blue room can be relaxing and soothing. My depression was marked with definite bouts of anxiety so it’s no wonder that I would drift to a color that was calming. You do have to be careful with this color, though. An icy blue will be chilling instead of relaxing. And a really dark blue can provoke sadness instead of just calmness. The best blues for a relaxing mood are the bright, dark blues like cerulean and turquoise. Green is both calming and warm so bringing in green-blue tones (like the teal I was drawn to for my first projects) can be especially soothing. Because of blue’s “coolness” it is good for lowering blood pressure, bringing down fevers and calming angry tempers.
One of the most healing aspects of crochet is that it relieves stress. Green yarn might be the best choice for enhancing that aspect of the craft. It is a color that encourages the eye to rest and this rests the rest of the body as well as the mind. Green is the color of new grass and suggest re-birth and liveliness, especially in the yellower tones of green. This makes it a hopeful color in addition to being one that relaxes you. Green is also the color most commonly associated with balance and harmony so it may be a good choice for people with mental health conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. color theory says that green helps build the immune system, so it’s a good staple to keep in your work kit.
Yellow Is Energetic But Stressful
Yellow is a tricky color to work with. On the one hand it makes us think of sunflowers and sunshine and bright, happy days. You may drift to yellow when you’re in a really cheery mood because of it’s light and brightness. And you may want to choose it when you’re feeling down to help boost your mood. But too much yellow can be a bad thing. It is considered to be the color that is most stressful on the eyes. It can cause frustration, irritation and anger. So if you’re working on a pattern in a yellow yarn and the work is driving you crazy and you just want to throw it across the wall; try switching to a more calming yarn and see if that helps. Color therapy says that it is also good for digestion problems and skin disorders.
Red Is Agitating
Red is often associated with anger. This doesn’t mean that you’ll be mad every time that you work with red yarn, of course. But if you’re particular sensitive to color then you should be aware that the over-stimulation of this bright hue can cause your blood pressure to rise and your pulse to raise. If you suffer from anxiety then you may find that working with red yarn heightens your anxiety.
On the other hand, this does stimulate the nerves, so if you suffer from a lot of fatigue and need a boost of energy you may find that red projects are uplifting. It brings warmth so if you have an illness that leaves you cold it can be a good choice. Additionally, red is a power color so if you are feeling weak and like you need to regain your personal power then crocheting something for yourself in red can be just the answer.
Orange Excites Without Agitating
People who are seeking the excitement and racing heart of red but find the bright color too overwhelming may find that orange is a better choice. It’s less harsh on the eyes and body but still boost excitement. It can be a good color for some people dealing with depression; that’s because it stirs up emotion and may help take away that “numb” feeling. Orange is considered very freeing so if you’re overwhelmed with restrictions in your life then pick up some orange yarn! Some people believe that this color helps to stimulate the thyroid, which might be something worth looking into if you have an underactive thyroid disorder.
Brown is Stable
Brown is an earthly color so it’s all about stability and grounding. It’s the color that you’re supposed to turn to if you need to heal your relationships or ground your own emotional center. It is a warm color. But be wary of using too much brown – working only with brown suggests a blandness that can be linked with depression.
Purple is for Creativity
Purple is the go-to color for people seeking to get in touch with their creative sides. Deep purple suggests opulence and luxury and stimulates the creative brain with feelings of fantasy and whimsy. Lighter colors, such as lavender, are more restful but still allow you to open up to your inner creative voice. People who want to use crochet for mindfulness and meditation may find that purple yarns are a good choice to facilitate that.
Pink is for Youthfulness
Pink is a joyful color associated with youth. People who have age-related disorders may find that pink brings them back in touch with a younger side of themselves and reinvigorates them. Pink is also the best color for healing from grief.
Grey Is the Ultimate Neutral
I was really curious about why grey was the other color I constantly found myself drawn to during my depression. Color theory says that grey is the most neutral of all colors. Because of this, it is used to neutralize negative emotions and experiences. This makes sense, because in my depression I was unable to handle extremes of emotion. I needed numbness as much as I hate numbness.
Black Fights Evil
Black is said to be a color that fights off evil. What does this mean for healing? Well, if you need to end a toxic co-dependent relationship or break yourself free from an addiction then black can be a good choice to surround yourself with. Black is also one of the most meditative colors so if you feel like it’s time to go deep into your own psyche then work with this color. However, excessive blackness is obviously associated with depression and should be used carefully.
White is Completely Healing
White is the balance of all colors together and therefore is considered to be a very powerful healing color. It suggests freshness and so it’s great if you feel like you need to “start over” from something. It also suggests spiritual enlightenment and inner peace so if you’re feeling at a loss in this world then you might be calmed by working with pure white.
Obviously, everyone experiences things differently. You may find that certain colors provoke opposite feelings from those described here. It is always best to trust your own instincts. But be open to the possibility of playing around with color and seeing how that affects your moods!
I touch on color theory a bit in the chapter on depression in my new book, Crochet Saved My Life. Get your copy here.