Photographing Yarn

I love photographing yarn about as much as I love knitting with it. In the beginning, my photos were not very good. But with practice, my skills improved. The real shift came when I switched to photographing my yarn using manual settings. Sometimes, I don’t have time to do it (like when my two-year-old son LB is hanging on my back), but the results are worth it. I’ll show you a few with what I did to make each photo a success.

Never underestimate the “wow” factor. I put all my yarn in one place on a single bed sheet and that alone makes it an amazing photo because of the sheer enormity of my stash. Of course, back when this photo was taken I had more acrylic. I’ve since acquired more hand-dyed.

Knitter's Eye View of My Entire Yarn Stash

Smudge Yarns Irish Aran in Sugar Maple

Coordinate the background with the yarn. The colorway and Aran weight of this Irish wool made me think retro so I took out a vintage tablecloth and left it creased to keep it real. This yarn is AMAZING and authentic Irish wool.



Skein’s Himalayawhich sadly is discontinued, in the Urban colorway.
I set the yarn cake on a finished painting I did last year with the back of a canvas in the background. The yellowing old background picked up the yellows in the yarn while the green on the canvas brought out the blue undertones in the wool’s grey.



Abstract Fiber’s Alex looks so delicious. It reminds me of roasted hot peppers. I chose a dark denim fabric for underneath and background so the colours would really pop.

Thai Chili Pepper


Actual Size Creations Electron in a hand-wound ball nestled in one of my bowls from Essaouira, Morocco. Sharp focus on the yarn and twist texture with the background blurry. I love the fish in blue and white. I love fish in general. But the circular design of the background goes well with the round yarn ball.

Tropical Pink


I have no idea what this yarn is but with a cone’s worth it is destined to be something lovely. My preference is for navy more than black so it will be something for me this time. The cone is nice for its not completely cylindrical shape and some yarn escaping its confined wrap gives the image motion and interest.

Better than an ice cream cone? A yarn cone!


Kilcarra Aran with buttons from Cork Button Company. I bought these buttons for my friend BonnyAlma. To photograph them, I put a crumpled-then-reflattened brown paper bag in the background and the yellow yarn to show it off. The yellow yarn and brown paper both have a visual warmth so it pushes the buttons forward to show they’re the star.

Buttons and yarn


A stark black background really shows the tweed of this yarn.

Banana Aran Tweed


Sure, you’re thinking that of course those yarns look good because they are mostly hand-dyed and will always be delicious. Well, I’ll admit that’s mostly true but lighting, focus and surroundings are important too. It is amazing what can be done with indirect slightly diffused natural light and two pieces of matte poster board or nice fabric (or a cool tote bag). Even a normal skein of yarn can look good.

This blue-grey cotton shows repetition with its twists and folds.


Violet Lion Brand Cotton-Ease


Nothing like a quarter yard of Liberty fabric to make anything look good.






A canvas tote is the background here.


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