Crochet Color Work: How To Do Planned Pooling

Resources, Tips, Tutorials, and Yarn Pooling Crochet Patterns

Planned Pooling Crochet Pillow

Stardust Gold Crochet

Planned pooling is one of the most creative ways to work with color in crochet. This is a very unique approach to working with variegated yarns. The result is that you create "pools" of color. These add dramatic impact to your designs.

In essence, planned pooling takes the pooling effect that naturally happens with multicolored yarns and uses smart planning to turn those spots into a design detail.

Here we will take a closer look at what color pooling is all about, including links to resources for learning how to crochet yarn pools. You will also find lots of great color pooling crochet patterns to get started with the technique .

  • 01 of 15

    What Is Color Pooling?

    Color Pool Crochet Scarf

    Over the Apple Tree

    Color pooling, which is also called yarn pooling, is a specific technique for working with variegated yarns to create specific color-based designs in your work. The technique requires the use of variegated yarn that has a repeating sequence.

    Believe it or not, "pooling" has often been considered a negative thing in knitting and crochet. Variegated yarn naturally creates pools of color that some people have found unappealing. However, designers have turned that history on its head with "planned color pooling", in which you really have to plot out your design in advance to get the look that you're seeking. Although it requires planning, color pooling is typically done with very simple stitches so that you don't have to have extensive crochet knowledge to be able to execute this technique. 

    People have been adjusting the natural pooling of yarn in myriad ways for a long time. The trend in this guide is specifically about how to create an argyle print using crochet color pooling. (Argyle may also be known by the names tartan and harlequin.) However, color pooling can be used to create a variety of different types of patterns, including stripes, and it can be done in both knitting and crochet. Elk Studio has some examples of crochet color pooling in the round that differ from the argyle print.

    To make the project in the picture, go to Crochet Scarf Color Pooling by Over the Apple Tree

  • 02 of 15

    Guide to Planning Out Crochet Color Pooling

    Neon Crochet Color Pooling

    Glamour 4 You

    The planning part of the project involves some attention. Glamour 4 You has broken this part down really nicely in her planned pooling tutorial. She explains in detail the following basic steps, with a complete photo-rich guide and video.

    1. Unwind a long portion of the yarn so that you can see the color sequence and repeat pattern.
    2. Crochet a chain that begins at the start of one repeat and ends at the end of that repeat. (For example, if your yarn repeats the colors red, yellow, blue, green then begins again with red, you will begin at a point in the yarn near where the green leads back into the red.)
    3. Begin the first row in whatever stitch pattern you might be using (for example, single crochet stitches). You will once again crochet from the beginning of one repeat to the end of the other. Note that your first row at this stage will not be as long as your starting chain. You will undo these extra chains at the end of the project.
    4. Add or subtract one set of stitches and then continue your pattern with the next repeat sequence. It is this small shift that creates the crochet color pooling design.


    • The starting chain is typically between 24 and 36 stitches, but you may need to adjust the length depending on the yarn, hook size, and tension.
    • You must have even crochet tension. Melody's Making color pooling cheats video can help.
    • It's worth it to do a gauge swatch.
    • Make a note of the color sequence at the beginning of your project. Pay attention to make sure that the yarn hasn't changed sequence, as this can occasionally happen in yarn.
    • When you add a new skein you will have to make sure that the new one lines up exactly with the color sequence of the old one.
    • It takes a minimum of about ten rows to even see if the effect is working correctly.
    • Go slowly. Take your time as you work this crochet technique. 

    Color Pooling Guide by Glamour 4 You

  • 03 of 15

    Choosing the Right Yarn

    Example of Yarn For Color Pooling Crochet
    Glamour 4 You

    Select a variegated yarn that has a repeating color sequence (required). Make sure that the lengths of each color in the sequence are all approximately the same as one another. You don't want short bits of one color followed by long bits of another color, as this will change the design and you won't get the desired pooling effects.

    Choose yarns that have medium lengths of color, not lengths that are extra long or extra short. Aim for a change around 6 inches (although this isn't exact by any means).

    Lists of best yarns are available from:

  • 04 of 15

    Best Crochet Stitches for Color Pooling

    Kathryn Vercillo

    You can achieve the planned pooling effect by using a variety of simple stitches. The best options are short stitches and stitch patterns including:

    It is recommended that you start with a basic stitch such as half double crochet and get used to how planned pooling works, after which you can play around with different effects created with the use of different stitches.

    Continue to 5 of 15 below.
  • 05 of 15

    Color Pooling Scarf Free Crochet Pattern

    Color Pooling Scarf Free Crochet Pattern
    Repeat Crafter Me

    Sarah Zimmerman of Repeat Crafter Me offers a free crochet scarf pattern that uses planned color pooling. Working from a pattern allows you to really work out the steps required to understand the design for yourself so that you can begin color pooling right away.

    Of course, you have to follow her guide closely, working with the same yarn and hook size. She has used a chunky yarn and a size H crochet hook. She also provides information about what to do when adding a new yarn skein, which is important for most color pooling crochet projects. The result is a beautiful argyle crochet scarf.

    Crochet Planned Color Pooling Scarf free pattern by Repeat Crafter Me

  • 06 of 15

    Crochet Argyle Super Scarf

    Planned Color Pooling Crochet Argyle Super Scarf free pattern
    The Purple Poncho

    This is another free crochet pattern for a scarf that has the argyle pattern thanks to crochet color pooling. This one is a super scarf, wide enough to be cozy throughout the winter as well as to make a bold fashion statement. See how the same technique can have a different impact depending on the chosen yarn colors. You can get a strong understanding of how to do planned pooling in crochet by trying out several different patterns.

    Planned Color Pooling Crochet Argyle Super Scarf by The Purple Poncho

  • 07 of 15

    Argyle Super Scarf and Blanket

    Argyle Super Scarf and Blanket Free Crochet Patterns

    Naztazia also offers a free crochet color pooling tutorial along with instructions for using that information to create a large super scarf as well as an even bigger crochet blanket. This is a written pattern and also includes a video tutorial.

    Color Pooling Scarf and Blanket by Naztazia

  • 08 of 15

    Crochet Tartan Scarf with Planned Color Pooling

    Crochet Tartan Scarf with Planned Color Pooling
    Little Panda Mommy

    The argyle or tartan pattern is great on super scarves but it is a technique that is also effective on much skinnier scarves that you can wear throughout the year. We see that on this free crochet pattern by Little Panda Mommy.

    She notes the importance of having uninterrupted crochet time when working on color pooling so as to avoid changing tension a lot and otherwise impacting your design. This is one of the best tips for people who are just getting started with planned pooling.

    Crochet Tartan Scarf with Planned Color Pooling free pattern by Little Panda Mommy

    Continue to 9 of 15 below.
  • 09 of 15

    Argyle Dishcloths

    Planned Pooling Argyle Dishcloths Free Crochet Pattern
    String with Style

    Dress up your kitchen with the argyle style using this simple free color pooling crochet pattern from String with Style. She shows how to use a cotton yarn, which is what you need when making dishcloths. Her example shows what the effect looks like in different colorways. Create amazing gifts for the people in your life with this simple pattern.

    Planned Pooling Argyle Dishcloths free crochet pattern by String with Style

  • 10 of 15

    Color Pooling Slouch Hat Crochet Pattern

    Color Pooling Slouch Hat and Headband crochet pattern
    Kathalena Avendano

    This unique crochet pattern shows how color pooling can look when worked in the round. This pattern is available for sale in the Kathalena Avendano Ravelry store. The pattern also includes instructions for making a matching crochet headband so that you can switch out your accessories depending on the weather. The choice of a black and white yarn gives provides great graphic appeal.

    Sideways Slouch Hat crochet pattern by Kathalena Avendano

  • 11 of 15

    Color Pooled Crochet Christmas Stocking Pattern

    Color Pooled Crochet Christmas Stocking Pattern
    Brenda Leigh Bennet

    A red, white, and green variegated yarn is perfect for Christmas-themed crochet color pooling. It looks great on this stocking; the argyle print offers some nostalgia that is excellent on this type of design. This crochet pattern is for sale through Ravelry.

    Pooled Mistletoe Stocking Crochet Pattern by Brenda Leigh Bennett

  • 12 of 15

    How to Zigzag in Crochet Color Pooling

    ZigZag Planned Pooling Crochet Cowl Free Pattern

    Five Monkeys Menagerie 

    Five Monkeys Menagerie has come up with a free crochet cowl pattern that demonstrates how to do planned pooling in combination with a chevron-style zigzag stripe.

    Zigzag Planned Pooling Cowl by Five Monkeys Menagerie

    Continue to 13 of 15 below.
  • 13 of 15

    Even More Planned Pooling Crochet Patterns

    Planned Pooling Crochet Blanket Pattern

     Amanda Corvello Designs, Ravelry

    As the technique has grown in popularity, designers everywhere have come up with fresh new planned pooling crochet patterns. Here are some more for you:

    If you really want to get into this technique, check out the "Yarn Pooling Made Easy" book by Marly Bird, who also created a capelet based on the "Outlander" television show. The book includes 10 planned pooling crochet patterns.

  • 14 of 15

    Planned Color Pooling App

    Planned Pooling Generated by App
    Planned Pooling

    Many knitters and crocheters use the Planned Color Pooling App to assist in the color pooling design process. The app allows you to adjust stitches and add/ subtract colors to get a sense of what you need to do in order to get the correct design. This saves you a lot of hands-on craft time when figuring out what your crochet project is likely to look like.

  • 15 of 15

    Color Pooling Facebook Group

    Crochet Pooling Facebook Group
    Crochet Pooling Facebook Group

    You can get inspired by the work of other people who are enjoying planned pooling by joining the Color Pooling With Crochet Facebook group dedicated to the technique. This is a great place to ask questions, get support and show off what you've learned. There are more than 29,000 members in this group.