4 Secrets for Success With Variegated Yarn

How to Crochet with Multi-Color Yarn

Colorful Variegated Yarn

© Santiago Urquijo, Moment, Getty Images

When shopping for yarn, colorful variegated yarns often leap off of the shelf. They're eye-catching. They blend colors so beautifully. Plus, if you get all of the colors you want in one skein, then you don't need to worry about changing yarn colors within a project.

However, even though those beautiful colors beckon and it's hard to resist buying them, crocheters sometimes find themselves disappointed when they get them home and try to work with them. It's just hard to tell how the yarn is going to work up. The results can vary dramatically depending on the crochet stitches that you use.

Sometimes crocheters have a few bad experiences with variegated yarn and just give up. If you’ve ever made an ugly project using variegated yarn, then you aren’t alone. However, once you get a handle on how to use variegated yarn to its best advantage, it could result in some of your most spectacular crochet projects ever.

Don't be afraid to try variegated yarns. These crochet tips will help get you started.

  • 01 of 04

    1. Use Self-Striping Yarns With Long Color Repeats

    Variegated Yarn

    Boris SV, Moment, Getty Images 

    Some self-striping yarns have long lengths of each color. Others have really short stretches and change color quickly. You can make great crochet projects with either type of variegated yarn. However, if you're struggling to work with multicolor yarn then you might want to start with skeins that have long color repeats.

    Colorways like this can ​accommodate a variety of different stitches, even the taller crochet stitches. In other words, whether you work them in single crochet or in double treble crochet, you'll still get a beautiful result. Shorter lengths don't always work in those taller stitches.

    If you need help figuring out which yarn brands offer long lengths of color in variegated yarns, check out lists of resources for planned color pooling
    in crochet. That's a crochet technique that specifically calls for long-length
    color repeats in variegated yarn.

  • 02 of 04

    2. Combine Two or More Yarns, Particularly Two or More Variegated Yarns

    Balls of Yarn

    Eugen Wais / EyeEm, Getty Images 

    It seems completely counterintuitive, but instead of working with a single colorway of variegated yarn, combine it with other colors throughout a project. Better yet, do a double-stranded crochet project with two different variegated yarns.

    It seems all wrong; if it's tough to crochet with one set of
    colors in variegated yarn, then what would make it easier about adding multiple colors? However, sometimes it works out really well, giving you the most unique eye-catching crochet projects that you've ever created. Don't take us at our word; try it and see for yourself!

    Some yarn combinations and stitch combinations work better than others, so be sure to check out these 5 ways to combine variegated yarns.

  • 03 of 04

    3. Keep It Simple

    Yarn Skeins

    Thomas Northcut, The Image Bank, Getty Images 

    It's easy to cross the line between eye-catching and too busy. Yes, this seems to go against the previous advice. However, we aren't talking so much about color here. Instead, we're talking about pattern. Complex, detailed stitch patterns using a diverse range of advanced stitches may not make great projects if you're just starting out with variegated yarn. Eventually, as you get comfortable with multicolor yarns, you may want to take on those projects. But in the beginning, keep it simple. When in doubt, less detail is better on variegated yarn projects.

  • 04 of 04

    4. Research the Yarn

    Yarn Store

    Reza Estakhrian, The Image Bank, Getty Images 

    Most of the time, yarn is yarn, and you can use it for either knitting or crocheting, interchangeably.

    However, when you start working with yarns that have distinctive
    color variations in the same skein, the differences between knit stitches and crochet stitches become much more apparent. They’re totally
    different, and variegated colors that work well for one aren’t guaranteed to
    work well for the other.

    As it turns out, some yarn colorways were developed by knitters
    and intended for use in knitting projects. It’s possible that some of them
    might not even have been tested in crochet projects, ever. There’s nothing
    wrong with that, but at the same time, it’s a shame when unsuspecting
    crocheters purchase these yarns and are then disappointed when their projects
    don’t turn out well.

    A little research goes a long way here. If you want to buy yarn
    specifically for crocheting, then it’s a good idea to research the yarn. Look
    around the manufacturer’s website and see if they recommend any crochet
    patterns for use with that yarn. If there are crochet patterns that are already
    known to work well with the yarn, it’s a much safer bet that your crochet
    project has a chance at success too. (Even so, there are no guarantees.)

    If the manufacturer is only displaying knitting patterns, and
    you can’t find any evidence that the yarn works well for crochet, then at that
    point it’s a total mystery. Maybe it will work well for crochet, but maybe it
    won’t. Without doing further research, or making an actual purchase, you have
    no way to know.

    Finally, you might want to learn about s-twist vs. z-twist in yarn. Crochet projects work best when using yarn that has been spun with a z-twist. This is particularly
    important with variegated yarns. Therefore, if you want to try a new yarn and
    aren't sure if it works well for crochet, looking at the twist is a good place
    to start.

Watch Now: The Best Yarns for Crochet