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5 Things You Should Know About Color-Changing Yarns

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5 Things You Should Know About Color-Changing Yarns


Yarn that is dyed so it changes colors is great fun to knit or crochet. Watching the color pattern reveal itself as you work is a joy. Simply work a project in rows or in the round and what was once a plain project magically turns into something special!

When you run out of yarn and add a new skein, if you begin the second skein as you normally would it will likely not match where you left off. You will see a noticeable color change in your work that could be jarring. To avoid this, you need to unwind the new skein until you find the exact place in the color scheme where the old one ended. This does waste some yarn, but it’s the only way to get the skeins to match up.

1. Prints vs. Stripes

Yarn that is dyed with short lengths of color before it changes is often referred to as a “print” (Wool-Ease®  and Vanna’s Choice® comes in print colors). Generally the color changes every 3 to 4 stitches and combines perhaps 3 total colors. Lion Brand also offers yarns we call “stripes” (Wool Ease® Thick & Quick®, Homespun® Thick & Quick®, Jamie®, and Fun Fur® all come in stripe colorways). The color changes are longer and create distinct stripes with no work at all!

2. Painterly Yarns

We also offer a wide variety of color changing yarns that have very long lengths of color before changing and contain multiple colors. Some “bleed” into each other for subtle color changes while others are more abrupt. These yarns come in many different fibers and weights so there’s a yarn perfect for just about any project. They include Amazing®, DaVinci, Keppi, Landscapes, LB Collection® Silk, Tweed Stripes®, Unique, and Vanna’s Tapestry.

Everything you knit or crochet with these yarns will look totally different. The more stitches (the wider the piece) in your project, the less often the color will change on the same row. So a scarf, for example, will appear to have blocks of color rather than a striped effect you might see in a sweater.

Although knitting or crocheting in rows or rounds produces striking effects, try it in ways that create fabrics that move in various directions. This shows off the colors in an entirely different way.

3. Diagonal Designs

Knit Half Square Triangle Blanket Cowl Neck Striped Poncho Diagonal Furrows Scarf
Knit Half Square Triangle Blanket in Jamie® Knit Cowl Neck Striped Poncho in Amazing® Knit Diagonal Furrows Scarf in Landscapes®

Patterns that are worked diagonally or on the bias produce stripes of color that move diagonally rather than horizontally. We have many patterns in both knit and crochet worked diagonally…and remember, you can substitute color changing yarns for single color yarns (for help on this, click here).

4. Mitered Designs

Mitered Crochet Baby Blanket Modern Miters Afghan Crochet Tweedy Mitered Afghan
Mitered Crochet Baby Blanket in Jamie® Knit Modern Miters Afghan in Amazing® Crochet Tweedy Mitered Afghan in Tweed Stripes®

Miters are another wonderful way to use a yarn like this, as colors magically move in an “L” shape as you knit or crochet squares. As the squares are combined, miters create spectacular afghans, scarves, and more.

5. Granny Squares

Crochet Granny Square Coat Crochet Granny Inspired Afghan Crochet Mod Hex Afghan
Crochet Granny Square Coat
in Unique®
Crochet Granny Inspired Afghan in Amazing® Crochet Mod Hex Afghan in Tweed Stripes®

Granny squares, everyone’s perennial favorite, are yet another way to create unique designs. Try them individually crocheted and then seamed together or one big granny square.

Explore, experiment, and have fun!

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  • Is there a way to change yarns without tying a knot? Something easy and not messy.

  • In point #2 – Painterly yarns – isn’t the opposite true? The wider the piece, the *more* often the colours will change in a single row. If the piece is very narrow, the same colour may last for several rows.

    • I agree.

  • I leave a small part of the ending yarn & beginning yarn out before continuing the crocheting. Afterwards I intertwine the endings into the already crocheted item. There are no knots except at the very end of the panel or project or square.

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