How to Build Nice Yarn Palettes

How to Build Nice Yarn Palettes -

When knitting, it can often be a struggle to choose the perfect colors of yarn. I regularly spend time looking at all of the colors that are available to me, trying to mix and match different shades.

Even though I’ve studied color theory, I sometimes find it difficult to choose colors. I have picked up a few tricks though, tricks that I will gladly share.

Color Meanings

When deciding on some colors for a knitting project, one of the first things that I think about is the meaning behind colors.

Different colors evoke different feelings, and different color relationships modify those feelings.

The first relationship I’ll go over is warm vs cool colors.

Here is a color wheel, with the warm colors on one side, and the cool colors on the other:


Warm colors can be seen as being warmer, bolder, and more energetic. This means that warm colors are great for winter accessories, and bold patterns and pieces.

Cold colors can be seen as being colder, softer, and more tranquil. This makes them great for summer accessories or for softer pieces.

Here are some of the meanings of common colors:

  • Red: Passion, anger, romance
  • Orange: Socializing, fun, abundance
  • Yellow: Happiness, energy, creativity
  • Green: Natural, lucky, health
  • Blue: Tranquility, nature, peace
  • Purple: Royalty, wealth, spirituality
  • Pink: Gentle, soft, caring
  • White: Sterile, peaceful, pure
  • Grey: Modern, modest, focused
  • Black: Sophisticated, mysterious, powerful
  • Brown: Reliable, natural, conservative

Color Relationships

You’ve probably heard of a few color relationships before, such as complimentary colors or analogous colors. There are more though, such as:

  • split complimentary
  • tetradic or double split complimentary
  • triadic
  • square tetratic
  • achromatic
  • monochromatic

Here are some examples of those relationships:

For a high contrast piece, you’ll want to use yarn colors that are in a complimentary, split complimentary, or tetradic relationship.

For softer or more unified looks achromatic, monochromatic, and analogous colors work well.

Triadic and square tetradic fall in between the unified look and the contrasted look, so use those relationships if you want a middle ground.

Another way to change the visible contrast in your knitting is to add variety in the saturation and value levels of the colors of yarn.

Saturation is how grey something is. Here is an example picture, that shifts from completely desaturated to more normal saturation levels:

Saturation Levels -

Value is how dark or bright a color is. When a picture is in black and white, the value of the original colors is the determining factor in how light or dark the shades of white, grey, and black are.

You can play around with hue, saturation, and value to get different levels of contrast. Here are some examples:


Use Existing Palettes

You can also use existing color palettes to choose the color of your yarn. A quick search for color palettes in Google or Pinterest comes up with hundreds of beautiful color schemes that you can base your palettes off of.

You can also use the colors found in pictures you really like, by opening up a digital copy of the photograph in an image manipulation program and using the eyedropper tool to select different colors from it.

Here are a few examples of color palettes chosen from photographs:

Hopefully this blog post has helped you build nice yarn palettes for your knitting projects. If it did, consider leaving a like or a comment, or sharing it on social media.

I blog every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back soon for a new post.

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