I’ve been listing yarn, and writing the colour descriptions for, what, four years? And it wasn’t until a conversation last week that it occurred to me that the descriptions may have been misleading to some of you. I have always listed the colours in the skeins in the order in which I see them, not in the the order of precedence, which is a bit dippy really, as we’re used to seeing lists in order of precedence, ingredients in a recipe, for example. So, I might list a colourway as sage, lavender, silver, moss, just because those are the colours I see as I turn the skein over in my hands – but a customer reading that may well assume that that means the colourway is mainly sage, then some lavender, then silver, then a little moss last of all.

So, from this week I will change the colour descriptions a little bit. Instead of just listing the colours, I will try to give an indication of their distribution, firstly whether the colourway is solid, semi solid, variegated, etc, and secondly which colours are predominant. I don’t think it would possible for me to list them in absolute order of precedence (or I’d go potty trying!), but I’ll do my best to give you a clearer idea of how the colours are presented. So, for example, I might say: Delicate semi solid shell pink with a hint of palest green and platinum.

How’s that? I’m always looking to get the yarn photographs more accurate, but monitors vary, lighting changes the yarn, blah blah blah, you know all of that. But the written colour description, if a little more accurate, may help to balance that out. It may help to know that whereas I do the photographs under powerful studio lights (which bring out all the subtle variations in shade that you might not see in normal daylight), I do the written colour descriptions in normal daylight, so apart from the fact that our eyes all perceive colour differently, they should be fairly accurate. This might be a good time to repeat the list of colours that I wrote a little while ago, so you have some reference as to what I mean when I say a particular shade.


Scarlet (warm bright red)
Crimson (warm red, slightly paler than scarlet)
Blood red (deep bright red, the colour of fresh blood!)
Ruby (deep cool toned red)
Burgundy (dark red, the colour of a deep red wine)
Maroon (a brownish dark red)
Geranium (slightly faded bright crimson red)
Cherry (a bright cool red, almost pink, but not quite)
Tomato (an orange-y red)


Orange (bright warm orange)
Tangerine (a deeper orange with a cooler tone)
Coral (a bright orange/pink blend)
Peach (a pale orange/pink blend)
Apricot (deeper orange/pink blend)
Copper (dark murky orange)


Gold (deep but bright yellow)
Butter (soft pale yellow)
Lemon (pale bright yellow)
Sunflower yellow (bright orange/yellow)
Ochre (deep orange/yellow, murky)
Saffron (deep yellow with a hint of orange)
Mustard (dirty dark yellow)
Primrose (pale cool yellow, with a hint of pale green)
Daffodil (bright cool yellow)


Mint (pale cool green)
Apple (very pale cool green)
Jade (bright blue toned green)
Leaf green (warm light to mid green)
Moss (deep warm yellowish green)
Olive (dirty yellowish green)
Lime (bright & light cool toned green)
Forest green (dark murky cool toned green)
Bottle green (very dark blue toned green)
Khaki (dirty mid toned greenish yellowish greyish)
Emerald (clear bright green with warm tones)
Chartreuse (bright yellowish green)
Kelly green (very bright cool toned mid green)
Grass green (very bright green)
Sage (pale murky yellowish green)


Baby blue (soft pale blue)
Sky blue (pale blue with a little turquoise)
Turquoise (bright turquoise, blueish green)
Teal (darker blue/green mix)
Sapphire (deep clear blue)
Navy (dark blue/black)
French navy (a paler navy)
Airforce blue (a murky mid blue, with a hint of grey)
Peacock blue (deep bright blue with a hint of teal)
Slate (blueish grey)
Kingfisher blue (deep blue with quite a bit of greenish teal)
Cobalt (deep true blue)
Azure (mid true blue)
Robin’s egg blue (a paler sky blue)
Duck egg blue (a pale greenish blue)
Aqua (pale blue/green)
Tiffany blue (a deeper aqua/turquoise)
Hyacinth blue (a mid purplish blue)
Denim (mid greyish blue, stonewashed denim)


Violet (bright warm pinkish purple)
Mauve (pale to mid warm purple)
Lavender (pale silvery purple)
Lilac (light pinkish purple)
Blackcurrant (deep warm toned purple)
Electric purple (very bright warm purple)
Aubergine (blackish purple, warm toned)
Plum (deep pink/purple mix)
Amethyst (rich mid pink/purple)
Damson (rich blackish purple, cool toned)
Grape (cool toned mid smoky purple)


Fuchsia (very bright cool toned pink)
Cerise (bright warm toned pink)
Flamingo pink (bright light orangey pink)
Blush (very pale warm pink)
Rose (pale to mid warm pink)
Dusky pink (dirty rose pink)
Barbie pink (bright cool toned mid pink)
Magenta (deep bright pink going into violet)
Raspberry (deep vivid cool toned pink, almost cherry)
Salmon (warm orange/pink mid tone)


Chocolate (warmish mid brown)
Cocoa (warm dark brown)
Coffee (mid milky brown)
Tan (very warm mid brown)
Bronze (murky brown with hints of green)
Amber (light warm brown)
Rust (mid orangey brown)
Russet (dark orangey brown)
Terracotta (murky orangey/brown with pinkish tints)


Beige (very pale neutral brown)
Stone (a paler beige)
Cream (a yellowish white)
Smoke (a warm pale brownish grey)
Taupe (a deeper brownish grey)
Dove grey (mid grey with a hint of lavender)
Biscuit (pale warm neutral brown)
Fawn (a warmer pale brown)
Soot (a flat true black)
Silver (pale grey with slightly warmish tones)
Platinum (very pale grey with cool tones)
Pewter (mid gunmetal grey)
Charcoal (very dark grey)
Ivory (a cool toned white)
Steel (a dull blue/grey)

4 thoughts on “30.08.12

  1. Dee this is soooo helpful, especially for a non native English speaker – seeing all the color description now helps me to envision the yarns better! Thank you!

  2. I’ve always thought your colour descriptions were great, but at the same time I know that my interpretation of, eg, teal, may be different to yours. The list above is very helpful, I might print it.

  3. I am buying almost every weekend from the Posh website, so over the years I got accustomed to the descriptions and I know what to expect. However, there have been some skeins, that didn´t match either the pic and/or the description on arrival- but guess what: they were nice, too ! Computer screens and words will never replace the naked eye, but I agree that it will be helpful to read whether a colour is f.e. almost solid/semisolid or variegated. Sometimes even the variegated shades can be quite subtle (especially in very pale or very dark shades) and merge into each other, creating an almost solid overall impression, so the new description method will certainly help. But I find,too, that the sudio lights quite “overexpose” the true colours and all in all I would prefer a daylight pic to see what the colours look like in real life, as I knit and wear the garments in real daylight, of course.

  4. Could you maybe post this list on your Information page? Would be very worthwhile to be able to check it more readily (have just had a hunt through your archives as I remembered seeing it, but as time goes by it will be harder and harder to find).