Color Pooling 106: Other Stitches and Stitch Patterns that Pool

I love the argyle pattern, I really do, but after working it so much recently, I’m craving a little variety. (Variety is the spice of life, right?) After playing around with variegated yarn and how it can stripe, I started to experiment with different stitches and patterns to see if I could discover other lovely crochet color-pooling patterns. I came up with a few, and you can, too! But before you play around with a variegated yarn, stitches, and patterns, there are a few things to consider:

  1. How long is each color in the variegated yarn?
  2. How long is the color sequence (a set of colors that repeats over and over in the skein)?
  3. Does any color appear more than once in a color sequence?
  4. How wide do you want to make the project?
  5. Do you want to work in the round or in rows?

There are a lot of variables in creating patterns using variegated yarn. It’s handy to have some color pooling experience or knowledge before trying to create your own patterns. I recommend reading the previous blogs in this series to build an understanding of color pooling basics before experimenting with your own patterns.
Crochet Color-Pooling Series #106 - Crochet Headband Showing Color Pooling

  • Color Pooling 101 discusses how to create the argyle pattern using the moss stitch (as pictured in this argyle headband).
  • Color Pooling 102 explains how to get the zigzag pattern, which is basically half the argyle pattern.
  • Color Pooling 103 shows how to make wider argyle projects using multiples.
  • Color Pooling 104 discusses how to create the argyle pattern in the round (and what happens if you don’t turn your work every round).
  • Color Pooling 105 explains how to create stripes in your work.

To limit some of the variables in my experiments, I decided to use yarns that:

  1. Had colors that were at least 9 inches long or longer.
  2. Had a 31-35 inch color sequence.
  3. Had a color appear more than once in the sequence (an ABAC sequence such as light grey, medium grey, black, medium grey).

I also decided to focus on narrow projects like scarves and cowls (I only wanted to work in rows).

I chose yarns in which each color was at least 9 inches long so I could crochet taller stitches like the half double crochet (hdc) or double crochet (dc). I also experimented with several other kinds of stitches, including the popcorn stitch, shells, braided chains, and cable/post work. I made swatches to see if the colors were long enough to make each kind of stitch and to see how many stitches I could get per color. The most helpful thing, though, was having a good understanding of striping (covered in Color Pooling 105: Stripes). Knowing when to turn your work is key—especially if you want the colors to stack on each other or be offset.

Variegated yarns with ABAC and ABACDC sequences stripe in rows or in the round; yarns with ABCD sequences only stripe when worked in the round. Discovering patterns that successfully color pool can take a lot of trial and error, so it’s important to be methodical about creating them. You can certainly play around with the yarn and try to create various patterns, but I recommend making swatches to see what kinds of stitches work best with your chosen yarn and how many stitches can be made from each color. Then you can chart out variations with paper and pencil and try the ones that look most promising.

Considering all these elements and planning your stitches beforehand will lead to color-pooling success. So without further ado, let’s look at a few of the patterns I came up with.

Braided Chain Cabled Scarf
Yarn: Red Heart Soft in Greyscale
Hook: G/6/4.00 mm

Crochet Color-Pooling Series #106 - Braid and Crochet Color Pooling

This classic scarf is crocheted almost entirely with double crochets in the back loop only (blo), with the exception of the center black section, which is all chains (ch)—11 chains, to be exact! Once the scarf is crocheted, the center section is “braided” up the length.

The key to creating a scarf like this is knowing when to turn. The light grey is the longest color in this ABAC sequence, so I chose to turn in the middle of each light grey. While swatching, I discovered that I could get eight double crochets in each light grey section. For the colors to stripe or stack on themselves, that meant I would need to turn after the fourth double crochet. Here’s how the rows look:

*Note: I’ve specified how many double crochets you should get for each color; you may need to change crochet hooks or adjust your tension (crochet tighter or looser) to get these stitch counts. Because these colors are all variations of gray, it’s okay to get stitches that are half and half, but the color changes look crisper if each stitch is only one color.

Ch 17 so that the ch ends in the middle of a light grey section. (Extra chain stitches can be removed by pulling the tail through the stitches.)
Row 1: Dc in 2nd ch from hook, dc in next 3 ch (light grey), dc in next 3 ch (medium grey), sk next 2 ch, ch 11 (black), dc in next 3 ch (medium grey), dc in next 4 ch (light grey), turn.
Row 2: Ch 1 (counts as tch), , dc blo in first 4 dc (light grey), dc blo in next 3 dc (medium grey), ch 11 (black), dc blo in next 3 dc (medium grey), dc in last 4 dc (light grey), turn.
Rep Row 2 to desired length.

Finishing
To braid the chain sections, place first ch11 behind, under, and around the skipped ch on foundation ch, twist right, and open to form a loop, *pull next ch11 through loop, twist right, and open to form a loop; rep from * to last ch 11. To finish, sew last ch 11 down OR turn the scarf into a cowl by putting a button on the other end and using the last loop as a button loop.

Post Work Cabled Scarf
Yarn: Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice in Charcoal Print
Hook: G/6/4.00 mm

Crochet Color-Pooling Series #106 - Post Work Cabled Scarf

This half double crocheted scarf’s clean lines are the result of the post work done in the medium grey sections. Like the yarn used in the Braided Chain Cabled Scarf, this yarn has an ABAC color sequence. By turning in the middle of each black section, I was able to keep the black stripes narrow and create a wide light grey section in the middle, which became the focal point. With only 9 inches to work with in the medium grey color, I had limited options on stitches. Popcorn and shell stitches require about 23 inches each, so I settled on two double crochets. By making the rest of the colors half doubles, I could do the doubles as post-work stitches to give this striped scarf some added interest:

Stitch Guide
Front Post Double Crochet (FPdc): Yarn over (yo), insert hook around the post of the stitch below from the front to back and back to the front, yo and draw up a loop, *yo and pull through two loops on hook* twice.
Back Post Double Crochet (BPdc): Yo, insert hook around the post of the stitch below from the back to the front and back to the back, yo and draw up a loop, *yo and pull through two loops on hook* twice.

*Note: You may need to change hook size and adjust your tension to make sure the colors stripe.
Ch 17 (or as many stitches as necessary so that you end in the middle of a black—extra chain stitches can be removed by pulling the tail through the stitches).
Row 1: Hdc in 2nd ch from hook, hdc in next 2 ch (black), dc in next 2 ch (medium grey), hdc in next 6 ch (light grey), dc in next 2 ch (medium grey), hdc in last 3 ch (black) , turn.
Row 2: Ch 1 (counts as tch), hdc in first 3 hdc (black), FPdc (see Stitch Guide) around next 2 dc (medium grey), hdc in next 6 hdc (light grey), FPdc around next 2 dc (medium grey), hdc in last 3 hdc (black), turn.
Row 3: Ch 1, hdc in first 3 hdc (black), BPdc (see Stitch Guide) around next 2 FPdc (medium grey), hdc in next 6 hdc (light grey), BPdc around next 2 dc (medium grey), hdc in last 3 hdc (black), turn.
Rep Rows 2–3 to desired length.

I Heart Greyscale Scarf
Yarn: Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice in Charcoal Print
Hook: H/8/5.00 mmCrochet Color-Pooling Series #106 - I Heart Greyscale Scarf

This split shell pattern in this scarf looks like little hearts in alternating colors! After swatching this colorway, I discovered I could get two medium grey double crochets and just over four
double crochets in the light grey and black. At first I tried to get the colors in this ABAC pattern to stack (or stripe), but it just so happened that the alternating color made for a more visually striking pattern. If the color had stacked, it would have just looked like columns of split shells; instead, I ended up with little hearts. What a happy accident!

To keep the shells complete, I decided to turn in the medium grey color. That meant the two sides would only have one double crochet each, but the medium grey sections in the middle would have two. Here’s how the rows work:

Stitch Guide
Split Shell: (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in indicated st or sp.

Ch 22 (or as many stitches as necessary so that you end in the middle of a medium grey—extra ch stitches can be taken out by pulling the tail through them).
Row 1: Dc in 2nd ch from hook, *sk next 2 ch, split shell (see Stitch Guide) in next ch, sk next 2 ch**, dc in next 2 ch (medium grey); rep from * across to last ch, ending last rep at **, dc in last ch (medium grey), turn.
Row 2: Ch 1 (count as tch), dc in first dc (medium grey), *sk next 2 sts, split shell in next ch-1 sp, sk next 2 sts**, dc in next 2 dc (medium grey); rep from * across to last dc, dc in last dc (medium grey), turn.
Rep Row 2 to desired length.

Designing on Your Own Crochet Color-Pooling Patterns
Using these basic guidelines, there is no limit to the number of patterns you can create. I chose to create designs from ABAC color sequence, but there is no rule that says you can’t make patterns from other sequences. When you branch out and create stripes on your own, note which color is the turning color (when working in rows) and only work halfway through that color when you get to the width you want. With a little experimentation (and careful attention to your tension), you can create many fun patterns.

—Deborah


Dive into the Pool with These Crochet Color-Pooling Goodies:

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