Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Use a colour wheel to help your yarn choices

One look at our needle and hook collections will tell you the the KnitPro team loves colour. 
Zings, Trendz and Waves all add colour to your crafting kit
So it is not surprising that we love stripes, granny square, Fair Isle and anywhere else we can combine colours in yarn. And judging by the pictures you post on our social media channels so do you.
What can be hard sometimes is deciding what colours to use together. A useful tool, we sometimes turn to, is a colour wheel like the one pictured below.
The standard wheel you usually see has 12 segments as shown here. The primary colours, yellow, red and blue are shown at 12, 4 and 8 o’clock and secondary colours, orange, purple and green,  are at 2, 6 and 10 0’clock. Secondary colours are created by mixing two primary colours, for example red and yellow give orange, so they sit half way between the primary colours on the wheel.

The other colours here are known as tertiary colours and are made by mixing a primary and a secondary colour. So for example at 5 o’clock the red and purple are mixed to give a red-violet or shade. You could go on adding segments by mixing each colour with the one next to it to create a larger range of shades but twelve is a good place to start.
Using colours together
Among the ways to match colours are: 

  • Similar shades: Choose yarns that sit in the same quarter of wheel such as reds and oranges – these are known as analogous colours.
  •  Complimentary colours: These are colours that sit opposite each other on the wheel and provide good contrasts– yellow and purple, green and red etc. If you are looking for a subtler contrast, go for the colour to the immediate left of right of the one opposite.
  •  Colour groups: For fair isle and crochet squares we are often looking for 3 or four colours to combine. Pick your colours evenly round the wheel for example  at 1, 5 and 9 o’clock or 1, 4, 7 and 10 o’clock.

This is known as colour theory, one of the easiest ways of using it with yarn – especially from your stash – is to arrange your skeins and balls in a circle in the correct positions for the colour wheel. This will really help you see what will work together – and what crucial shade you need to buy for your perfect colour combination.


  1. So very true, well written and explained. I've used colour wheels for dying yarn, dying cloths & materials, arts & crafts, drawing, painting. Plus with designing my rooms & wall colours.I've been stuck trying to choose contrast colours occasionally whilst putting colours of yarn together for a project & to be honest have never thought of useing my colour wheel for that choice, especially when I have one in my home that I use a lot.Great tip! & next time I get stuck makeing a decision there on colours to use as combinations I will now have my colour wheel help me! Thankyou.

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