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Color Trends for 2012

Dec 26, 2011

The Cambridge Jacket by Ann Budd is the perfect way to add some tangerine to your life!
I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas! I did, and now I'm looking forward to celebrating the new year. I can't believe it's going to be 2012. I remember so clearly celebrating the new year in 2000, and it's actually twelve years later. Doesn't seem possible.

Something that comes with each new year is fashion forecasts and trends. Even though I don't adhere to many trends, I do enjoy seeing what designers and color fashion forecasters come up with. Trends are especially interesting to me when applied to knitwear.

With each new knitting pattern book and magazine I see, there seem to be some trends being followed, but I find that in knitwear, trends are given a nod but the patterns are most often practical and wearable. Of course, you can always find the totally trendy pattern, but I like to think of those designs as being just for fun, although I know that some young, adventurous knitters enjoy knitting the trendiest patterns available. More power to them! I love seeing those knits walking around, just not on me.

Color is where those of us who are a little more traditional can employ trends. I love my gray, brown, and black, but I also like to step out of the box a bit and do a few things a year in bright—or just different—colors.

Here are the color forecasts for 2012. I know I'll be able to introduce some of these fun hues into my knitting life.

"70s appliances": Gold, almond, avocado green, and muted mustard. I love the name of this group! It conjures up a rental I lived in while in college. And I just knitted a cowl in avocado green, so I think I'm all set with this group!
Layered nuetrals: Oatmeals, browns, tans, and grays. This is my happy place, and I think I've pretty much got it covered with this group (although I can't promise not to add to it throughout the year).
Blush pink, robin's egg blue, and mint green. This might be my biggest challenge. I'm just not a pastel person, but I do like pink so maybe I'll explore that for a pullover or something. Or maybe a beautiful lace scarf.

Graphic Black and White: This combo is being used in geometric, bold applications, which is pretty exciting. I love the idea of a black and white Fair Isle sweater. (I didn't include a photo of the colors black and white—you know what they look like!)

Tangerine Tango: This is the color company Pantone's choice for 2012. Orange can be a polarizing color—people either love it or hate it, there's not much middle ground with this color. I happen to love it. I have a couple of summer tees and a light-weight cardi in tangerine. I just love Ann Budd's tangerine Cambridge Jacket, pictured above. I think it would look great on a woman (me!), too. And I might have to make an orange cowl so I can wear it with my black coat this winter; black and orange is such a striking combo. Cowls are one of my favorite knitted accessories because they're so fast and you can use those special one-skein purchases you made on impulse.
We have all kinds of patterns for the colors of 2012, and they're on sale until 12/28/11, too! Read on to see how you can join the trendy this year.


P.S. What's your favorite group of colors? Leave a comment and let me know!

Featured Product

Cambridge Jacket Knitting Pattern

Availability: In Stock
Price: $5.50


Inspired by the casual mens sweater jackets of the 1950s, this trim cardigan uses placed ribs for fit and knitterly detail.


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mnazeanze wrote
on Jan 5, 2012 10:45 PM

I also do not understand why people is hating these colors so much. I would think that my crafty sisters would be more creative and make the best out of these pallets. I frankly love them and cannot wait to dig up my yarn stach in search of these colors!

Sawicki wrote
on Jan 3, 2012 2:03 PM

I think these colors are awesome;)

not sure everyone's hating on them.

chloekaufman wrote
on Jan 3, 2012 12:38 PM

Orange, tangerine - whatever you want to call it should be left for fruit.  I can wear some of the "rustier" tones, but don't as a rule because they are too close to ORANGE.

And as to the 70's colors, they should be removed from the color charts - didn't enjoy them in the 70's, don't need them now.  

The neutrals are ok, but are a bit boring.  

I do wear a lot of black's and dark blues in my work attire, but always have a colorful blouse/jacket/scarf to go with it.  

My hair is silver and I can wear a lot of colors - but not pastels.  I like the plums, and the red's with a blue undertone, the limier greens, and mustard yellows.  I love grays - all of them.  Alas, I will not be trendy this year.  

JulieK@28 wrote
on Jan 2, 2012 5:58 PM

I'm a light winter and most of these colours do absolutely nothing for me.  I live in New Zealand which, because it is a small country, doesn't have a huge range available in the mainstream shops.  If it's not in, you can't buy it.  There'll be interesting things around, but at a price.  Looks like recycling my current wardrobe embellished with still more black and some brown.  I'm trying to wear less black, but  what can I wear instead?  My favorite colours to wear are reds and softened purples, greens and aquas.

cfd wrote
on Jan 2, 2012 9:55 AM

Does this mean we will see even more of the patterns in the magazines knit in browns?  Thank goodness yarn lines last a few years and there will still be color to use - I frequently skip patterns knit in neutrals and the brown family - it would be great to see samples in a few colors.

on Jan 2, 2012 9:29 AM

Fashion is pleasing others, style is pleasing yourself. (Someone famous years ago.)

SherryA@4 wrote
on Dec 31, 2011 8:56 PM

Colors for 2012

SherryA@4 wrote
on Dec 31, 2011 8:54 PM

Colors for 2012

Machar wrote
on Dec 31, 2011 6:51 PM

I agree with Moira!  I follow design styles, but not the yucky anemic colors they try to make us like.  Please, let's not go back to the "sick body-fluid" colors of the 70s, and the neutrals just look like dirt.  For girls like me (dark hair but glow-in-the-dark fair skin), beiges and other earth-tones don't work.  Bring on the bright, deep COLORS!  Jewel tones like cobalt, purple, and ruby are the ones I live in and love.  I can't wear tangerine either, like many of you, but just about every other bright color is in my closet. This Christmas I took a chance with a sparkling teal cocktail dress for a company party (where everyone else was all in black), and seriously I must have gotten 50 compliments.  GIVE US COLOR!!  :)

Ruth@7 wrote
on Dec 31, 2011 3:37 PM

Ironically, 'the 70s appliances" colors would be great on the walls in my Arts and Crafts era house (they were really fond of those tertiary colors for some reason back then).  And my husband, being an Autumn, would look good in some of them.

But me?  I'm a (Light) Summer, so *none* of the palettes would look good on me, except maybe a couple of the browns in the 'layered neutrals".  And the color of the year?  Ick -- too tomato-y.  Fortunately, Pantone has hundreds of other colors to choose from.

PamC321 wrote
on Dec 31, 2011 3:04 PM

I guess in a world where there is economic upheaval, revisiting the past is easier than looking forward brightly.  I lived through the 70's and if anyone thinks back on that decade with fondness as a time of peace, comfort or unabashed joy, was prolly smokin somethin or tripping out.  I don't want to relive earth tones, hair, paisley, bell bottoms, love beads, peace signs, flag burnings, sit ins, low draft numbers, or anything else hippie.  Once was quite enough!

lindaclaire wrote
on Dec 31, 2011 2:47 PM

I am so bored by tan, beige, black and white in both interior design and clothing.  As f or the appliance colours, They were horrible in the 70s and the repeat is a regurgitation.  The pastels will only look good on a baby  or some timid soul.  For non-colorphobes, take a look at Susan Sargent's book, for example The Comfort of Color, and some of her textile designs.

lindaclaire wrote
on Dec 31, 2011 2:38 PM

Frankly, I don't care for any of them.  I am so bored by seeing everything in beige, black, white etc . in both interior design and clothing.  The pastels shown look insipid.  With the wealth of colours possible, why are we so limited?  Take a look at some of Susan Sargent "s books ,for example, the Comfort of Color, and some of her textile designs.  Now, there's colour!

kiwiana wrote
on Dec 31, 2011 2:18 PM

the colours for this year really only suit a small percentage of us. I to will not be purchasing a lot of them.  Give us some blues and greens.

Julknits wrote
on Dec 31, 2011 1:56 PM

I love  all the colors!

Rowena wrote
on Dec 31, 2011 11:05 AM

Ick.  I guess this year I won't be purchasing much. It would't be such a bad palette but the only bright (tangerine) is not one many people like or can wear.

Rowena wrote
on Dec 31, 2011 11:05 AM

Ick.  I guess this year I won't be purchasing much. It would't be such a bad palette but the only bright (tangerine) is not one many people like or can wear.

MelisaM wrote
on Dec 31, 2011 7:58 AM

Yuck! I'm a Summer and can't wear any of those colors except the pink and robin's egg and I certainly don't want an entire wardrobe of pastels. I do like the tangerine but I can't wear it. I wouldn't care what colors were considered "in" if it wasn't for the fact that you can't really buy anything else. All the stores will carry the same colors. I hate years where I can't wear any of the colors. I guess there won't be many new clothes in the new year for me. :(

Moira wrote
on Dec 31, 2011 7:46 AM

Although I like to try to stay in fashion as far as STYLES, I have never considered COLOUR itself to be in or out of fashion.   I gravitate to the colours I like and which make me feel good.  I can see where one might tire of seeing a particular colour (most likely because it has been deemed trendy at one time), but for colour to be "in" or "out" is just plain silly.  Man may create the many fashions, but colour is all around us, a part of nature.  I never feel the need to have my house or my clothing in a particular colour because someone has announced this is the colour of the year.   In fact, that is part of the reason I like knitting.  I can select a pattern and make it in any colour I like due to such a great selection of yarn colours and not be confined to the colours that the trendy ready-made stores are offering.

lizcounsell wrote
on Dec 31, 2011 4:48 AM

Interesting.  I love the tangerine - as an "autumn" it's very much one of my favourites.  Have a lovely oversized shirt in this.  The first colour palette is definitely me.  Have just finished a cowl in the avocado (well, a close approximation anyway).  Goes wonderfully with my dark browns.  Definitely not a pastels fan, but my daughter is, so a cowl in blush pink I think.

mrstlv08 wrote
on Dec 28, 2011 2:35 PM

Iije the layered neutrals and pastels. I have a soon to be 3 yr old and she loves the pastels. The neutrals are great fora y age but I also have a 1.5 year old son and those colors look best on him.

cathugs wrote
on Dec 27, 2011 1:35 PM

Except for the pastels (which strike me as insipid, so don't make my heart sing - I'd definitely punch them up!) , the featured colors for this coming year really don't work well for blue-eyed dirty blondes like me with pale but pink-toned skin.  

Especially tangerine, THE color of the year - that's a color for brunettes or a few very pale blondes.  Notice that ALL the pix of tangerine knitted items feature dark-haired models!  I love to eat tangerines, but orange tones make me look sick!

And as for 1970's "appliances" colors, I can only wear the green, or maybe the almond though I could end up looking like "beige woman" in too much of that.  But who wants to look like a tired old avocado-colored refrigerator or stove?  Those out-moded appliance colors have been a joke for decades now...

No earth tones for me!  Winter jewel tones work much better - purples, kelly greens, cobalt blues, bright reds (yum!).    Or black and white!  Clean, clear colors.  I think I'll ignore the "hot colors" of this season.  

But thanks for showing them - I may save money this year - won't be buying many clothing items if those are colors featured!!

karenfarmilo wrote
on Dec 27, 2011 12:19 PM

I like the neutral palette the best. The 70's grouping is OK but perhaps in small doses. I'm not a pastel lover so I would enhance the colour more to my liking. I do like the Tangerine Tango- add that into the neutral mix and we're starting to create a nice group.

Thanks for sharing the colour choices with us.    

Ask4J wrote
on Dec 27, 2011 11:37 AM

These are the colors from the 60's, 70's and 80's respectively--all OLD HAT and well expired beyond any further use.  How about coming up with something NEW and CREATIVE use the rest of the spectrum.  I didn't like them then, but lived with those colors because I was young with no inspiration, but after a decade has passed these old color schemes linger on and on and become the look of the dreaded pas, a faint memory of the "in" lookt.  Key word PAST these colors are passe period.

MsMarie wrote
on Dec 27, 2011 10:56 AM

I'm liking the "70's' you, I saw a lot of those during my college years.  Our first "furnished" efficiency apartment had an orange vinyl couch!  So nice ot see what is new!  Thanks!

on Dec 27, 2011 10:44 AM

You said you like knitting cowls...... favorite patterns?   Any freebies?

CarolynT@6 wrote
on Dec 27, 2011 8:41 AM

I love the tangerine tango - but would use purples with it!  I am winter and love the brighter colors.  None of the colors of the year look good on us.

on Dec 27, 2011 7:48 AM

Layered neutrals and pink are the only colors I can wear. I do LOVE the new Tangerine Tango. Luckily I'm a graphic designer and I can use the color in other ways. I agree with everyone else — 70's appliance colors should stay as part of the 70's history.

Laura :-)

yvonne@50 wrote
on Dec 27, 2011 6:54 AM

My favorite color group is the 70's appliance.  that is because I'm an autumn, so those colors are on my pallette and go well with my skin tone and red hair.


Graciegirl18 wrote
on Dec 27, 2011 6:52 AM

I always enjoy seeing what the "experts" are trending for the upcoming year.  I, personally, am excited to combine the 70's appliances for a splash of color with the Layered neutrals.  I am, however, just a bit disappointed that the "pepto-bismol pink" wasn't in the trending forecast.  Happy Knitting to all!

on Dec 27, 2011 6:51 AM

As a mainly Earth tones type of person, I'm trying to branch out and work with some jewel tones.  The pastels make me retch, but I dig the "70's Appliances!"  The Tangerine is great, too!  I need to break out of my green and brown comfort zone and try some new colors.

MiaM@2 wrote
on Dec 27, 2011 3:08 AM

My favorite is definitly the 70. And the Tangerine Tango is brilliant, just what I need.

Leigh@5 wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 11:23 PM

I think the Pantone people are copycats. When they announced "their" color, I had already painted my studio's east wall in a delightful tangerine color.

I like what I like when I like it. Pantone doesn't influence me that much. Just because "they" say ' mint is in' doesn't mean that suddenly I look good in it. (I don't.) I think the annual color choices are kindof funny (Pink in the spring?? who would have thunk it?!?) - except that then all the shirts come out in only those colors and I can't find anything to wear.   Oh well. I guess that's how we carbon date old album pictures...

MaryF@2 wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 10:09 PM

So now they want us to look like 70's appliances? ??  There's nothing wrong with the colors but those shades are hideous.  Luckily, we can knit what we want and are not dependent on someone else's random idea of what colors we should be wearing.  They must have a lot of merchandise left over in those colors that they want to move.

lonestarlady wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 8:11 PM

Of the choices, black & white will be number 1 and pastels #2. I can't wear the "70's appliances" nor the layered neutrals without looking ill!  Sounds like I'll be wearing LOTS of black & white!


binder54 wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 6:21 PM

I am so leaning to the 70s appliance.  I love those colors together.. Very nice    Sandy

MaryE@54 wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 5:49 PM

Green is my go-to color, but this last year I have become passionate about pumpkin.  Orange and green together puts me right over the edge!

JanetC@14 wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 5:15 PM

My favorite colors are all the berry colors together.

Judy Bowhall wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 4:43 PM

Really like the 70's appliance colors because they look good on me with my autumn coloring.   But - I LOVE the tangerine tango.  I've looked all fall for a tangerine/orange turtleneck and couldn't find one.

Yarnmaniac wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 4:01 PM

I would definitely use tangerine over the rest of those colors. There is nothing I want to make in 70s appliances colors! They were bad enough the first time around.

DataKat wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 4:00 PM

Along with others, not interested in revisiting the 70's appliances in any way.  I don't look good in orange, not at all!  I do LOVE robins egg blue and mint green, so there is something for me in this years colors.  Or at my age, I can wear whatever I want to!

mamanett wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 3:15 PM

I read the comments below after asking about knitting this cardigan for me (a woman) in Pantone.  I have hazel eyes, pale complexion, auburn hair and love orange and various shades of same.  These colors are amazing!!!!  Can't always agree with others but then I betcha others agree with me.


mamanett wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 3:12 PM

Please reply.  I love the Cambridge Jacket and LOVE the Pantone color but I am a woman with a 42" bust.  Do you think I could wear this or is it mostly for men :(((


Jenyjenny wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 3:07 PM

I don't have a problem with the avocado, gold and tan. Especially avocado or olive green; love it in wool. I love oranges of all hues, I like black and white, and the pastels are interesting and great on some people--pale blondes, dark and olive skins and black hair--but I am with you, liking the neutrals a lot! What am I going to do with the massive amount of blues and reds in my stash.

jelloak wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 3:03 PM

I agree with most of the other comments - these colors are just plain UGLY.  I'm also a "winter" person and love vibrant rich tones.  And why the 70's colors that were so ugly in the 70's - been there - they are still ugly.  Pastels don't look great on many and the others are just so drab . . . I say EWWWWWW

Glad I'm not a fashion follower - I'll continue to dress as usual - my own way in my own colors

on Dec 26, 2011 3:02 PM

I'm afraid I must agree with the folks who've posted already. Although I love the cocoa brown, most of the other colors seem depressing or insipid. I like the tangerine, but it looks lousy against my skin.

Fortunately, the yarn stores carry an abundance of colors, so we aren't stuck with the "colors of the year."

RuthB@2 wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 2:17 PM

Ghastly. Hated them in the 70s and hate them now.  They make me look like I should go home and go to bed.  The pastels MIGHT work, but really!  How rude to put together a palette that looks so bad on so many people.  Having said that, I realize that the people it DOES look good on have often been left out, which is just as bad as leaving us "winter' types out now.  Fortunately, I really don't care what the "in" colors are and will continue to knit and dress as I wish.

AKRaven wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 2:13 PM

These neutral colors are a disappointment for those of us "winters" who love (and need) bright colors so as not to look washed out.  Thank goodness we can still buy yarn in jewel tones!  With so much of our world scene broadcasting grim news at least our knitted garments can add some sparkle.  

JennaL wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 2:09 PM

Oh... crud. Great, I'm doomed to a year of desperately rummaging through clothing/yarn/fabric displays trying to find even ONE thing to wear. Dark hair/dark eyes and I don't tan, heck I don't even burn, I BLEACH like a skull in the windswept Sahara. That kind of coloring doesn't DO pastels. Or, lord help me, the nasty 70's browns/mustards/avocado colors. And orange? Isn't happening.

Someone let me know when rich saturated colors come back around. And thank heavens I've never been into being trendy. Sorry - but every single one of the colors suggested as the "IT" look for 2012 would just make me clinically depressed if forced to wear, knit with, work with, or even LOOK at for long periods of time!

gginastoria wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 1:58 PM

Yay!  Orange is back. My favorite color.

JosephineS wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 1:53 PM

Oh no.  What awful colors. They weren't very pretty on appliances.  Why would they be pretty on a person?

on Dec 26, 2011 1:50 PM

I'm into autumn colors mostly,  so I absolutely love the "Layered Neutrals".

Mfolly wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 1:39 PM

When whoever this is appoints herself the Color Decider, I wish she (or he?) would choose more attractive or appealing colors. Most years (this included) it seems as if the selection of colors are so ugly it must be a put-on or some sort of in-joke. Unfortunately too often the joke's on us, as we're stuck with this limited range in clothing, etc.

on Dec 26, 2011 1:36 PM

Avocado green, harvest gold....EWWWWWWWW!  Been there, done that, hated it at the time!!!

Karen A.

Gingerh wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 1:33 PM

I love the pastels and the neutrals, but I agree that the jewel colors are a nice change.

on Dec 26, 2011 1:20 PM

None of the above works for me.  I love strong colors full of vibrancy.  Pastels or washed out versions are boring, boring, boring!

lolajl wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 1:17 PM

None of these groups, honestly. I wish jewel colors would come back in style. I'm just not interested in revisiting the 70's.