Crocheting with Variegated Yarn

Crocheting with Variegated Yarn

Tropical Stripe Wrap Spacer 10x10 pixels I love variegated yarn, the way the colors morph into each other, and combine or contrast in the stitches. I recently received a copy of Kathy Merrick’s new book, Crochet in Color: Techniques and Designs for Playing with Color, and I have become increasingly drawn to variegated yarn, because, of course, I did not have enough yarn before. Kathy has brilliantly designed tops, shawls, and home décor to emphasize the qualities of this type of yarn.

However, anyone who has attempted crochet with variegated yarn knows that it can either turn out a superb creation of color or a mottled mess. The amount of yarn each stitch takes varies—for instance, a single crochet uses less yarn than a double crochet—so some yarns may have too short of color changes to work well in crochet. If each stitch uses two or three colors, the finished piece may end up looking messy. Also keep in mind what your finished project will be—a variegated yarn for a sweater may be different than a variegated yarn for a table runner. Let’s look a few types of variegated yarns together.

Yellow swatch  

The easiest variegated yarn to work with is yarn that has only slight variegations. With this type of yarn, the color changes blend smoothly from one to the next. The colors are likely similar in tone and shade. I love using these variegations in sweaters to create depth and interest without drawing attention to the colors. You don’t have to worry about the height of your stitches or blotchy sections of color. Both the yellow swatch and the deep rose swatch are examples of this type of yarn. The yellow swatch is a woven strand that morphs in long sections from pale yellow to a more saturated hue.

 Rose Swatch   The deep rose swatch utilizes shades of rose and brown with similar hues giving the fabric a heathery, not jarring appearance.  
Blue Swatch  

Some yarns ply strands of different colors together to achieve a variegation. The blue swatch contains two colors of blue and a contrasting yellow. Because the colors are consistent throughout the entire ball, and therefore throughout your entire project, the finished fabric remains consistent.

Pink and Brown Swatch  

Now let’s look at some yarns with more distinct variegations in color. The white, pink, and brown colors of this swatch are certainly not in the same hue. While the finished item may look a bit like urban camouflage, the length of the colors along the yarn before the color changes create an appealing patched affect. Think carefully about the best project for this yarn. It can made adorable children’s clothing, blankets, and many other possibilities.

Short Color Change Swatch  

Some yarns have a short color change. This can cause color shifts within a stitch or make it appear that each stitch or every other stitch is worked in a different color. If there is no apparent pattern to the color variegation, the finished fabric can look mottled and confusing. I’m sure you can find a wonderfully creative use for this type of yarn, but approach with caution.


My best advice is to play with variegated yarns. Make up a few swatches or try working a project up in a variegating yarn. Look around you for inspiration or projects using variegated yarn. Kathy Merrick’s new book is the perfect place to start. Then pick up your hooks and let the colors in the yarn create beautiful depth in the simplest of stitches.



Best wishes,



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