Knit with Confidence: How to Pick the Perfect Color Yarn for Your Next Project

Choosing ideal colours when selecting knitting yarn for your next project

You've been there. You've found the perfect knitting pattern, and know which type yarn you want to use, and you're standing in the store with a bundle of skeins that you've fallen in love with. In this article, I will share some yarn selection tips from a colour analysis perspective. When you know your Season, you have some useful guidelines when shopping for a new summer dress, or yarn for your next warm wooly mittens. You know 

The yarn is of exquisite quality and will set you back quite a few dollars. In addition you are going to spend countless hours knitting the sweater, you want to make absolutely sure that the colour will bring out the best in your skin and be a joy to use for a long time.

Knitters Look here

Did you know I have a publication called Nordic Knitter?

Season Colour Fan or Harmony Fan

My preferred method is to use my Season fan. Lately, I've also been using a Harmony Fan. I usually compare the ones from my Season (Bright Winter), and the two neighbouring Seasons (True Winter and Bright Spring), and because I am a colour nerd, I also like to have a look at Light Summer, because I know it is easy to confuse the clear, cool colours of Light Summer with the clear, cool, but more vibrantly bright colours of Bright Winter.

Harmony Strips

NDU colors are selling Harmony Fans, which is a collection of the strips for all 12 Seasons. They also sell single strips of the Harmony Fans, called Harmony Strips, so you can buy single strips exactly for the Seasons you need, and not have to buy a whole Harmony Fan. This is a great idea. You should always have one for your own Season, and getting the two neighbouring Season strips is never wrong. 

If you live in the US, you can buy all their products including Harmony Fans and Harmony Strips from their website, HERE. If you live in Europe, you can buy Colour Cards and Harmony Strips from me, HERE.

I recently fell for a delicious cobalt blue yarn Sarah by Permin. But is it really bright enough for Bright Winter? Let's find out, with the help of the NDU colors Harmony Fan.

comparing True Winter and Bright Winter

These are the Bright Winter and True Winter Harmony Strips with the yarn. I like both of these with the yarn. I like the way the neutrals don't turn green or weird, and I like the way the pinks and reds seem to glow nicely but not in a plasticky way. The Corals of Bright Winter seem balanced against the blue yarn. And the blues and purples of both Season strips seem to look very happy to be paired with the yarn.

Now, let's look to the Spring side of bright, and see how Bright Spring holds up against the yarn.

To me, the turquoise and the yellow of the Bright Spring strip seem a little bit lonely. So I still think Bright Winter is the better one.

Bright Winter compared to Bright Spring

But is it bright enough? The plot thickens. I pull out the Light Summer strip to have a look.

Bright Winter compared to Light Summer

it may not be completely clear from the digital image on your screen, but the yarn seems to be more in harmony with the slightly muted Light Summer strip. But I think this yarn might work for both Bright Winter and Light Summer, and possibly also for a True Winter.

The Harmony Strips helped me make an informed decision.

I hope this helps you when agonising over your next yarn purchase. Happy knitting!

Not only for yarn

This method is also what I use when I'm wondering about other items. Like the time when I went shopping without my Season Colour Fan, and came home with a reasonably bright pink T-shirt. In the comfort of my own home, I spread the T-shirt on a tabletop with good lighting, and laid my Harmony Strips on it. Here's Bright Winter:

Does the T-shirt perhaps look a little dusty next to the Bright Winter strip? But it does look cool enough. Let's look at Bright Spring:

Ah yes. Definitely cooler than Bright Spring. Bright Spring needs more warmth than this T-shirt can muster up. 

But back to the dusty feel. Could it be that I have slipped into Light Summer territory?

Well, well, well. The Light Summer strip is not quite making itself at home on top of this pink T-shirt. It almost seems like the T-shirt is too cool for any Spring influenced Season. So, to round off this experiment, I laid the True Winter strip on the T-shirt, and the strip certainly found a coolness connection with the T-shirt.

So I did all right. The T-short lands nicely in Bright Winter- True Winter territory, which is exactly where I want my clothes to be.

Fabric swatches from Not Perfect Linen

I like natural fibres like cotton, wool and linen. I have ordered a lot from Not Perfect Linen on Etsy, and besides having excellent customer service, they include generous fabric swatches when they send an item I have ordered. 

I went through the latest stash of fabric swatches and harmonised them using the NDU colors Harmony strips, and here they are, in case you're thinking of ordering something from Not Perfect Linen.

Linen Fox fabric swatches

Neutral Grey and Ice Grey are super for Dark Winter and True Winter.

Bright Winter can also pick from these calm and collected neutrals:

Linen Fox fabric swatches
Linen Fox fabric swatches
Linen Fox fabric swatches

I found these subdued neutrals to be perfectly irresistible for Soft Summer.

And below you see some soft and muted colours for Soft Summer:

Linen Fox fabric swatches
Linen Fox fabric swatches

Sadly, there are not many bright and warm Spring colours in the Linen Fox selection, but if you are an Autumn, you have a few to choose between. 

Forest Green, Burgundy Red and Natural Grey have a warm glow, but with a hint of Winter that makes them perfect for Dark Autumn.

Linen Fox fabric swatches

True Autumn can wallow in the mossy Olive Green, golden Camel and rusty Terracotta.

Soft Autumn have several options, including a dark Eggplant Violet which is a good alternative to black for Soft Autumn.

Linen Fox fabric swatches

If you are a Bright Winter or belong in any of the Spring Seasons, there is not much for you in the Linen Fox colours.

My best advice for you would be to buy a garment in Milky White, and then go ahead and dye it in a perfect colour using Dylon All-In-One!

About the author, Jorunn Hernes

Jorunn is a Certified Personal Colour Analyst, founder of Nordic Simplicity and Scandinavian Style Academy™, the fresh, simple, Scandinavian approach to getting dressed. Jorunn will avoid social settings with more than three people but can be lured out with snacks and the promise to talk about books.

  • What a fabulous post! I am a true spring and am looking for the right colour combinations for my next riddari Icelandic sweater. I want to knit in alfosslopi or lettlopi yarn. What colour codes of those yarns would suit a true spring?????

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}