If you’re like me, you are instantly drawn to multicolored yarns in the store or at a fiber festival. But once you get home, you may find it challenging to pick a project that suits the yarn. Today, I’m going to be sharing my tips for using more multicolored yarns in your crochet and knitting projects! Working with multicolored yarns can really help make that knit shawl pattern shine, or help a stitch pattern in a sweet crochet baby sweater really pop.
There are 3 major types of multicolored yarns to consider, and each one can shine in a different kind of project. I will discuss each of these types of yarn and how to best work with them.
Semisolid yarns are typically hand dyed. These are generally the easiest multicolored yarns to use. Because semisolid yarns have subtle variations in color, they may look like a solid color yarn at a distance. Up close, the details of the color become more apparent and make the resulting project even more striking. With semisolid yarns, you can use even complex stitch patterns while still allowing the yarn to shine.
Variegated yarns typically have short color repeats. This means that each section of color is relatively short and the changes between colors are more dramatic. Choosing simple stitch patterns that allow the yarn, rather than the stitch, to be the focal point of the project is a great approach for these yarns.
Variegated yarns sometimes “pool” by creating large blocks of one color. While some knitters and crocheters find pooling distressing, others enjoy it.
To avoid pooling, try holding 2 strands of the yarn together while knitting or crocheting. If you start each strand with a different color, you will “break up” the pooling. Another trick is to hold 1 strand of solid yarn with 1 strand of variegated yarn, which will create a tweed look.
If you’re more mathematically inclined, search for “planned pooling” or “intentional pooling” to learn more about how to create a project where you control the pooling effect of variegated yarn.
Self-striping yarns are also known as self-patterning or long color repeat yarns. Because the changes between colors occur more slowly and the length of each color is longer, these yarns create the appearance of stripes in your work.
These yarns are a great substitute for actual striping because you have many fewer ends to weave in! Use self-striping yarn in any striped pattern with great results. If the colors are striking enough, both a simple stitch pattern (below) and a more complex stitch pattern (above) will look beautiful.
To keep your striping pattern consistent, when adding a new ball of yarn to your project, start using the same or the next color in the striping sequence. You may want to consider buying an additional ball of self striping yarn if you are substituting it in a pattern that was originally designed with another type of yarn. This will allow you to start and end the ball in your color sequence without running out of yarn.
If you’d like to try out these simple tips and tricks, be sure to check out “No-Effort Colorful Crochet: Variegated Yarn Patterns.” This collection gathers the best free crochet patterns that are perfect for that new variegated yarn you’ve just picked up. All of the projects in this collection are fast and easy to hook up, and allow you to create beautiful multicolored crochet patterns without learning how to change colors. Enjoy!