How to digitally colour swatch for a project

This tutorial isn’t specific to Subculture Yarn, although another image source will have their own terms of service so please inform yourself and proceed with caution.

Subculture Yarn provides consent for the download and use of yarn images from our website for personal and associated business (designers, yarn shops and individuals with whom we have a business relationship) use. This consent includes posting on social media, with attribution to Subculture Yarn and a tag where possible.

First Step – Collect Colour Stories

Visit our Colour Story gallery here Save images for each colour story you are considering incorporating in your project by clicking on the thumbnail to enlarge, right clicking on the image and selecting “Save Image As”. You can start with multiple options and whittle it down as you go, or create several different, unique palettes to choose from.

It’s often a good idea when combining colours to think of contrast, how the colours and dye techniques will support the pattern, how you want to combine dye techniques such as a variegated and semi-solid yarn etc. To learn more about Subculture Yarn colour stories and how they will work up check out the Colourway Study page here

Second Step – Build a Collage with your Colour Story Images

If you already have a way to make collages, use that and voila! Otherwise, I recommend using the free platform Photo Collage at The instructions for creating a collage will presume you are using the platform linked above.

Go to the leftmost menu option titled “Collage” with a down arrow and select “Canvas Size” from the sub-menu, followed by the shape you would like your collage to be. I suggest 1:1 1200 x 1200 as this is perfect for social media and most templates.

Now add your images. For example, if you are planning a project with only 3 colours but you have 6 “maybes” you can go ahead and add all 6. Add your images by clicking the image icon with the plus sign in the menu and browsing to the location you saved your files.

Next, also from the menu bar, select “Template” to create the basic shape of your collage. The platform will automatically suggest the templates that match the number of images you have uploaded. Select a template that contains only the number of images you want in your final project. If a project calls for a lot of one specific colour, you may wish to repeat it in your template to show the weight of that colour against the others. You can also select “Autocollage” to arrange the images in a random tile arrangement.

In this example swatch I have added 6 images but I’m only going to select 4 colours for my project so I am using a 4 image template. This causes the images that are not in use to be shrunk and moved off to the side with a Red “X” over them.

Next I can use the image swap tool to swap images in and out to evaluate different combinations. Using image swap I can change the placement of images to suit the colour planning in the project.

Once you’ve decided which images you no longer need, simply click on the thumbnail with the Red X which will make a toolbar appear. Select the trash can icon on the tool bar to remove the image from your collage.

Now let’s make clean the collage up a bit. Select an image, that same toolbar will appear from which you should select “More” followed by “Zoom & Pan”. This will allow you to move the image around to remove any white space that is showing, or zero in on a specific part of the skein, for better appreciation of the colour then click close. Repeat with each image until you are happy with all of them.

Next, save your collage by selecting “Save in HD” sub-menu option from the Collage menu. This will allow you to save a high resolution image of your collage.

Name it something easy to remember! Once your file is generated the progress bar will complete and you will see a button that says “Download” appear. Click the Download button to save your file to whichever default location your browser saves files.

Last Step – Review and Compare Saved Swatches to Guide Your Design Decisions

The finished swatch for my project is below, a 4 colour story palette with 2 semi-solid and 2 non-pooling variegated colours. If I had a few palettes I was considering I could lay them out and compare, post on social media to seek input, or save them for a good long think and creative planning session.

We hope this was helpful to you, please share any palettes you create with subcultureyarn images by tagging us on social media, we always love to see what you beautiful souls come up with!