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Tips and Tricks for Picking Yarn Online

Since we know so many of you do your shopping online we thought we’d put together a few tips and tricks on how to pick yarn when you can’t come into the store. Yarn can make a garment you love and cherish for years so we know how important it is to get it right.

Where Do I Start?

Sometimes you know exactly what colour you want and sometimes it can be a little overwhelming knowing where to start. A lot of people fall in love with a pattern because of the colours the designer chose but I always try to look at the projects on Ravelry to see the design in different colour combinations just to get ideas and to challenge myself – see how different these scarves are?

Don’t forget to keep contrast in mind here – sometimes you want it (like the scarf on the left), and sometimes you don’t (like the scarf on the right)! Comparing black and white photos are a great way to quickly check the contrast between different colours.

I won’t get into colour theory here but if you’re curious check out this great video which explains the theory specifically with yarn in mind.

Variegated or marled skeins are another colour element you can play with – you can create some beautiful effects. 

At the end of the day the most important thing is that you love the colours – you’re the person knitting it after all! 

How Can I Make Sure the Colours Go Together?

At Loopinewool.co.nz it’s easy to see the colour of the yarn in your cart. If you’re working with three or more colours then it can be helpful to add yarn to your cart in the order you’re going to knit. If you want the images a little bigger you could open a different window for each colour while you’re playing around 🎨


I know some of the nerves of buying online are about the difference between the shop photo and the way it looks in person. We always take photos in natural lighting and list dye lots separately if they vary (like in the case of Spincycle, pictured above). 

If you’re still unsure about how something will look feel free to email us. We can take photos of yarn in the store so you can see how different skeins look side by side. Alternatively email us a colour palette and the pattern requirements and we can put together some options just for you. 

How Do I Get the Right Texture and Drape?

The thing I love about yarn stores is getting to pick up and touch all the delicious yarn so I know it’s hard to buy online without having a sense of the texture. The pattern will have recommendations for the fibre content (you can always check the content of the yarn the designer used).

At Loopinewool.co.nz you can shop by fibre and our listings give an indication of the fibre content. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices you can always go back to Ravelry and take a look at the projects people have made with the yarn to get a sense of the drape.

Do I Have to Knit a Swatch? 

At the store we order yarn online all the time – but we have samples (and swatches) to choose from! Me personally? – sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. By purchasing one skein of the yarn you think you want and then knitting a swatch you can test it out without investing in a whole garment’s worth. If you’re like me you’ll find yourself being drawn to the same colours and yarns again and again so I like to keep a record of what worked and what didn’t. I know other knitters use their swatches to make little things or recycle the yarn into their garments. It’s really up to you! 

I know many of you are outside of Auckland or can’t come into the store so hopefully this helps answer some of your questions 🙂

Happy Knitting
xx Henrietta and Team Loopine

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