The Safest Color

Picking a color that is sure to please

(credit for the lead image goes to nadi0 and her snap of the Perhentian Islands.)

Picking out colors for your next project can be either fun or daunting. Or both. For many of us its both and that is when you are picking colors for yourself. But when we have to pick out a color for a shawl for a friend’s niece? For our future mother-in-law? For your boyfriend’s dad’s second cousin? How do you pick a color when you are making something for a person you hardly know?

(Let me just pause and say that I think you should never make handmade things for people you hardly know. I know we all do it. I’ve done it myself and probably inevitably will again but its a risky thing, making a handmade something-or-other for a stranger. You and me are better off buying that person a gift card and casting on something for ourselves!)

When you are in that situation there actually is a certain color with the highest chance of pleasing the recipient. But before we get to that, I want to ask you a question…


Its a nice ice-breaker. Its a question that most people have a ready answer for. Some people believe that your answer reveals key aspects of your personality. What’s your favorite color? 

For the majority of humanity its blue. Yep, blue is across the board, across genders and nationalities, the hands down favorite color. Green comes in second.

color preferences, image from

So when you are picking a color for someone else, and you have no idea what they might like, pick a shade of blue-ish green. Or a shade of green-ish blue. Numbers don’t lie. If you use any color from this image…

you’ll be within shouting distance of more than half of the planet’s favorite color. And if you do pick a blue/green/blue-ish green, you can rest easy knowing that almost no one hates these colors.

Least favorite colors, image from

Why does the blue to green color range appeal to so many? I can’t find an “expert’s” answer for that. But that’s okay because I have my own opinion. We spend too much time indoors. If you go outside, all the way outside, and get away from man-made stuff, what are the two most common colors you see? Blue and green. I think we instinctively miss being surrounded by the natural environment and we want to recreate it (as much as we can) in our modern lives. How sad we are, right?

But shake off those deep thoughts and consider blue-green yarn. Whether you call it spruce or turquoise or peacock, a blue or green or blue-ish green yarn is a sure crowd pleaser. Case in point, I made my Chromatism cowl in shades of pink and gray and people said “oh how pretty”.

Chromatism – knit cowl and a free pattern

I made my Shetland Glory in shades of blueish green and gray (with pops of gold) and people said “I love that yarn where did you get it?”.

Shetland Glory – a free knit pattern

Yep, knitters and crocheters seem to naturally reach for those blue/green yarns. The smart yarn shop owner stocks up on plenty of these shades because no matter what the “in” color of the year is (I think this year its eggplant) blue/green will always sell. Always.

I’m no exception. I’m working on a pair of green fingerless mitts,

a blue-ish and green-ish summer tee,

and I have this skein out becasue I know its going to be my next project.

I’m not sure what that project will be (yet) but its gonna be green.

So the next time you need a sure-thing color, stay away from those neutrals. Blacks and browns and whites and grays are not as safe as you might think. People like those sky/water/grass colors. That’s the color their eyeballs are craving.

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21 Comments on "The Safest Color"

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Wonderful advice! Thank you for making gift giving so much less angst producing! There are some friends that have mentioned what colors they love, but some I have no clue at all. Plus preference change. Your advice solves the problem.


Some people are like me. Their favorite color is not the color that looks best on them. So I decorate in my favorite colors and wear what works best on me. I love fiesta colors, hot pink, orange, yellow , purple and turquoise. I look my best in jade green. Unfortunately for me the greens that are popular this year have a lot of yellow. They don’t work on me.


At one point I knit three projects in a row in various shades of dark green. Didn’t even notice until I was rummaging through stash for my next project and happily pulled out a hank of – wait for it – dark green. It suddenly looked strangely familiar.
And it’s even funnier because my favorite colors are blues!


Okay, I’m common. Blue is my favorite color but I was surprised it was most everyone’s, because most everyone I know likes green, yellow or red.


I’m so grateful that you like to write about all of the Yarny Goodness, because your posts are always so interesting! & I’d have to agree with you as to why those two colors are so popular, too