Tips for choosing yarn colors for knitting and crochet projects

Tips for Choosing Yarn Colors

Crochet  |  1 min read time

Find out how to pick the perfect palette for your next project.

An Introduction to Color Theory

As you may remember from your school days, all colors begin with the 3 primary shades: red, yellow, and blue. The next set of colors are called ‘secondary colors’, made by mixing 2 primary colors together. These secondary shades are green, purple, and orange.

The third tier of colors are called ‘tertiary colors’, and are created when primary and secondary colors are blended together eg. if you mix blue with green, you’ll get a shade of turquoise.

A colourwheel of primary, secondary, and tertiary colours

Complementary Colors vs Analogous Colors

Using a colorwheel like the one above is a great way to see which colors sit next to each other (analogous colors), and which are opposite (complementary colors). 

Using analogous colors will give your project a more tonal effect, for example, green and blue shades, or orange and yellow shades. Whereas complementary colors will create a bold contrast, such as yellow and purple, or pink and green.

An example of analogous colour yarns: orange and yellow

Another option could be to choose a monochrome palette, which doesn’t just mean black and white! A monochrome palette is made up of shades within a single color (such as different shades of purple).

An example of a monochrome colour palette of blue yarns

Choosing your color combination

When it comes to using color theory in your crafting projects, there are a couple of things that are worth considering while making your selection:

Stitch definition 

The yarn colors you choose can affect how your stitch pattern appears, for example, if your pattern uses lacework, making it in a dark color can be a great way to showcase the eyelets and spaces in the pattern, but the texture of the stitches themselves may not show up as well as they would in a lighter colored yarn.


If your pattern uses color changes such as intarsia or Fair Isle techniques, choosing complementary or analogous shades will affect how well the design shows up. You can create a balance by using yarn shades that work together, but are different enough to bring out the pattern.

Knitted swatch using the Everyday Jute yarn


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