That Old Background Dilemma

I’ve often heard it said that you should chose your background first, but even that doesn’t always work for me.

For ‘Dream Big’, my current little ‘graffiti’ project, I had chosen for the background what I thought was a light grey. It seemed a good foil for the strong bright colours of the words, plus was suggestive of a cement wall, the frequent background for graffiti artists.


As I started, I could envision the colour being effective.

NOPE! Wrong once again.

I spent a whole evening happily hooking a grey background, and up close it looked fine. BUT when I hung it up and stood back to look at it, my light grey background wasn’t light at all….it was medium. The green disappeared altogether, and the bright turquoise became washed out and dull.  I was so disgusted with it that I immediately ripped it out without once thinking that I should have taken a picture of it to illustrate “what not to do”.

After a few days of wanting to pitch the whole piece,I thought that perhaps the grey could still be used if I outlined the bright colours with a real contrast. I tried a dark grey….ugly. I tried a dark teal blue…..didn’t like the effect of introducing a totally new colour. So I decided to try the bright raspberry and the dark wine….


….but that took away the impact of the little streaks and bubbles     (note to self…check the setting on the camera before snapping the picture so you don’t end up with distorted colours like this)

….so I tried the dark wine by itself….


….finally! I liked that result.


Even so….. I’ve decided to ditch my original grey and go for a lighter, more mottled background grey. So  the dye pots will be out today, and I’ll try “mouse grey” ( which has a purple/pink cast to it which I hope will go nicely with the rest of the colour palette). So much for trying to use a piece of ‘as is’ wool from my stash.

Such glorious fall weather here in Central Ontario just now, it’s hard to stay indoors for long. The leaves are just starting to change, the sun is shining and and the temperature is balmy. (22 degrees celsius yesterday). It’s my favourite time of year, treasured even more since it is so brief. The very air seems laden with the ripeness of harvest.




4 thoughts on “That Old Background Dilemma

  1. I often do this Elizabeth, I will hook a large area of background and then know it is not what I want, sometimes up to three times – but in the end it is great when you feel you have cracked it. X

  2. Thank you for your valuable lesson. Your photos and comments have begun to educate my eye. I can now look out for the colour issues you mentioned when they arise.

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