#Crochet #TipsTuesday: Choose the Right Multicolor Yarn for Fabulous Projects!

Choose the right multicolor #yarn for fabulous #crochet and #knitting projects on #tipstuesday with @ucrafterI know I’m not the only one who has fallen in love with a multicolor yarn at a fiber festival, my local yarn shop, or in a hobby store… and then broke up with it once I got home.

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If you’d like to restart the romance with your favorite multicolor yarn, I’m sharing my tips for pairing each of the three major types of multicolored yarns with projects.

Semisolid Yarns

Thaden's Asymmetrical Shawl, #crochet pattern by @ucrafter for sale on Craftsy, Etsy, Kollabora, and Ravelry
Thaden’s Asymmetrical Shawl is a crochet pattern in Dream in Color Jilly Lace, a semisolid yarn.

Semisolid yarns are typically hand dyed and are by far the easiest multicolored yarns to use successfully. These yarns have subtle variations in color, and may even look like a solid yarn at a distance. Up close, the details of the color become more apparent and make the resulting project very striking.

Interweave StoreProject ideas for semisolid yarns

With semisolid yarns, you can use complex stitch patterns while still allowing the yarn to shine. Since the details of the yarn are most visible up close, choose a stitch pattern or project you’d like to “show off,” like a go-to accessory.

Variegated Yarns

A pair of infant legwarmers I crocheted in Bitsy Knits Bitsy Sock.
A pair of infant legwarmers I crocheted in Bitsy Knits Bitsy Sock.

Variegated yarns have short color repeats. Each section of color is relatively short so the changes between colors are more dramatic than in other multicolor yarns. Variegated yarns sometimes “pool” by creating large blocks of one color. While some knitters and crocheters find pooling distressing, others enjoy it.

Project ideas for variegated yarns

Simple stitch patterns usually work best with variegated yarn since the details of complex stitch patterns will be “lost” in the color changes once the project is finished. There are several different approaches you might want to consider.

  • Avoid pooling by holding two strands of the yarn together while knitting or crocheting. If you start each strand with a different color within the yarn, you will “break up” the pooling.
  • Or, hold one strand of solid yarn with one strand of variegated yarn to create a project with 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

Rippling Peacock Scarf, free crochet pattern by Marie Segares/Underground Crafter
The Rippling Peacock Scarf is a free crochet pattern using Cascade Yarns Casablanca, a self-striping yarn.

Self-striping yarns are also known as self-patterning or long color repeat yarns. The changes between colors are gradual and the length of each color is longer, so these yarns create the appearance of stripes in your work.

Yarns on Sale – Hundreds of yarns to choose from at Hancock Fabrics!

Project ideas for self-striping yarns

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 (like the one below) and a more complex stitch pattern (like the one above) will look fabulous.

Gradient Shells Scarf, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter
The Gradient Shells Scarf is a free crochet pattern in Knit PIcks Chroma, a self-striping yarn.

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.

By the way, you may want to consider buying extra 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 at the right point in the color sequence without running out of yarn.


What are your favorite projects for using multicolor yarns?

FO Friday: Baby legwarmers and Winner: 30 Min-Knits

For the second week in the row, I’ve finished a quick project from stash yarn for my friend AW’s new baby.

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This is my version of the Cozy Crawlers Leg Warmers from Linda Permann‘s Little Crochet: Modern Designs for Babies and Toddlers.  (The pattern is also available as a free download here.)  I used about half a skein of Bitsy Knits Bitsy’s Sock in the Quite a Party colorway.

I bought this yarn at the 2011 Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival.

It’s the yarn in the front.

Once I wound it up, I realized it wasn’t going to work for an accessory for me since it was too… lively for my tastes.

I was also a bit worried about pooling.  (If only I had read this post from Le Tissier Designs then — I would have known exactly what to do with this yarn!)  I’m not too stressed by pooling in infant legwarmers, though ;).

I may have time to make another quick project, but I might just mail these out with the booties, a card, and some children’s books.

In other news, according to Random.org, the winner of the giveaway for my review copy of 30 Min-Knits: What Can You Knit in Half an Hour or Less? by Carol Meldrum, courtesy of Barron’s Educational Series, is number 5…


Congratulations, Jane, and thanks to everyone who entered!  You can read my review of the book here.


For more finished objects, visit Tami’s Amis!