Choosing colors for stranded colorwork knitting is challenge, but not a rocket science. I wrote several tips how to choose colors. The example is my design Wintering cap, which I knitted in different yarns and colors.
You cannot go wrong with a traditional 2-color scheme: red/white, gray/black, gray/white (below) , red/black. The examples of these popular color combos are below, executed in different yarns.
For non-traditional 2-color scheme, choose high contract shades from the same or the opposite color family. For example: hot pink/burgundy:
You can make the color scheme a bit more sophisticated: 3- and 4- colors.
Take 2 (or 3) yarns of the same color family and the 4th yarn of opposite color in a darker shade. Make sure that there is still a good contrast between the two darkest yarns. For example: white/baby blue/steel blue + forest green. See two pictures below.
Here is another example of mixing 3 colors of one family (green, gray-greens) and 1 contrasting color (mustard yellow):
Another variation is on the last photo, #4: 2 yarns of one color family (purple and lilac) and 2 colors of opposite color family (dark mustard, light mustard)
True head turner can be a multi-color scheme. The most winning combos are the 2 sets of the opposite color families. This will make an unforgettable item. Again, watch for the contrast of any two colors you use in a row. See #5 on the last picture.
Important tips when selecting colors
• To determine the contrast take a picture of yarns side-by-side under day light in black-and-white mode. The difference in tones will translate into nice, crisp contrast.
• If you plan color changes for both – background and foreground – the transition will be smooth if you change 1 color at a time, knit at least 2 rows and change another color.