Controlling Variegated Yarn Colors

Last year it seemed everywhere you looked you would see some gorgeous argyle patterns made by using Color Pooling techniques in crochet. This is the ultimate example of controlling the colors in variegated yarn. But what do you do when you DON’T want the colors to pool together?

Last week I posted Crochet Crossroads where I discussed knowing when to recognize in crochet patterns when something was just not working. The specific problem that I encountered was unintentional color pooling.

I had chosen a variegated yarn with beautiful color contrasts and a loosely wound silky texture that I thought would look amazing in the Dancing Butterflies Wrap that I was crocheting. After a few rows I was so unhappy with how the colors were not only contrasting – they didn’t want to be near each other at all!!

dancing butterflies wrap yarn

This was obviously not the look I was going for in a rectangle wrap.

So I made that difficult decision that we’ve all encountered – stop and frog.

I went the extra step of changing to a different yarn altogether. I’m super happy with how the new yarn was working.

dancing butterflies wrap yarn 4

But I just couldn’t stop thinking about how lovely the other yarn was.

stash surprise 1

And I kept thinking…..and thinking……and thinking. Okay – yes, I had become obsessed with figuring out how to make that yarn work.

Now I will confess – Planned Color Pooling is a technique that I have not been able to figure out (yet). I made several attempts using the recommended yarns and recommended stitches. No luck – not even close. Obviously I will be revisiting this technique at some point but at the time I was in full Christmas crochet mode and didn’t have time to deal with it.

Planned Color Pooling will be a topic/challenge for the future. Right now I am interested in Planned Color UNpooling.

And here’s what I ended up with:

dancing butterflies wrap yarn 1

Hooray!! Now that’s better. The reds and the pinks and the grays and the blues and the teals and the creams are all having a party together!!

How to Control Color Distribution in Variegated Yarn

The solution to spreading out the color distribution in the variegated yarn that I really really wanted to use was easy. I needed to either increase or decrease the amount of yarn I was using per stitch. But which way to go?

The easiest way to change the amount of yarn per stitch was to change the hook size. I didn’t think that would be enough though. This combination of colors was going to be tricky to tame. The obvious solution was to change the stitch pattern.

But I really really wanted to use THIS yarn on THIS pattern!

I ended up just taking some liberties with the design (sorry Erica) and tweaked the stitches that were used. I substituted Treble stitches for all of the Double stitches in the pattern and Half Double stitches for all of the single stitches.

dancing butterflies wrap yarn 3

The top strip is with DC the bottom is using TRC

That did the trick AND gave this gorgeous pattern a lacier look which really let this yarn be all that it could be!

So now that I’ve found a way to UNpool the colors I will definitely be giving another go at Pooling in the future!

On a side note – everything that I love about Red Heart Unforgettable Yarn made it a nightmare to frog. The loose wind on the yarn causes a lot of splitting – in a good way. The yarn would split and flatten out making it feel like I was crocheting with silky ribbons. There are soft fluffy fibers covering it that give the wrap that “cashmeresque” cloud like texture. I am dreaming of using this yarn for a sweater or two in the future.

Thanks for reading!

~ Tami

dancing butterflies wrap yarn 5


38 responses to “Controlling Variegated Yarn Colors

    • Isn’t it just gorgeous!!! So silky and it has an amazing sheen to it!! It took me about 3 hours to pull apart the half skein that I had used in the first attempt of this wrap. I ended up snapping it once and then was very very very careful after that. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, the texture and drape is worth the headaches of working with it. I believe you that it took that long….it’s so finicky with those loose little strands, lol.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t that yarn great! I had never used this yarn before and only bought it because it was on clearance several months ago. I’m so glad I bought it and now I have all kinds of projects in mind that I want to use it on. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m usually the same way Karen but in this situation what I ended up with wasn’t what I wanted it to look like. I’m glad that just changing to the taller stitches seems to have sorted everything out. πŸ™‚


    • Thanks Britnee! I’m so glad I was able to figure out how to get those colors together instead of pooling up on either side. πŸ˜€


  1. That looks amazing now you have un pooled the colours. Well done for sticking with it… Or was so worth the effort. Thank you for sharing how you did it… I’m sure I’ll find a project where I need to use your ideas!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Julia! I had never come across anything like this before. I think it was just all of the elements combined in a perfect storm of weird color pooling. LOL. I’m glad I went with the taller stitches because I think that they actually look better for this yarn. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Claire! I love how they are both basically the same pattern but look so different because of the different weight yarn. πŸ˜€


  2. Wow, that came together beautifully! I love how a simple tweak made all the difference and the colors blend magically. It looks so pretty in those colors and with your coloring should look gorgeous on you! Good Job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lyn! I’m so glad I thought to try the taller stitch for this yarn. Not only did it solve my color situation but it also makes the laciness of this pattern really the star of the show. This is actually Theresa’s daughter’s pattern – her first published one and I’m so glad Theresa pointed me to it. It’s a nice little no stress design. πŸ˜€

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  3. Gorgeous! I wondered about changing something about the stitch to get the colors to mix better. You nailed it! And I also prefer the lacier look.
    And this is the first I’ve heard of color pooling, but after googling it I love it. It’s pretty hot to be making scarves in Oklahoma this time of year, but you should be ready to share your expertise by the time the weather turns this fall.
    Good job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jan! Isn’t that color pooling neat? I tried it last year and couldn’t get the argyle pattern to work. I’m going to give it another shot this year when the weather gets a little cooler. πŸ˜€


  4. Tami, really liked the colors in the Jiffy yarn and how they crocheted up. That was so cool! And I’m also admiring of the way you persevered in coming up with a solution to the unintended yarn color pooling with the first yarn. It so reminds me of the way I’ve felt about some of my story starts, including “Charlotte” from my post the other day. It’s heard to let go of something you feel has beauty in it! It encourages me to hear you found some success after trying another approach, and motivates me to keep working on my little story start. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Theresa! Isn’t that Jiffy yarn fun? I love the colors too. I’m so glad I figured out how to manage the colors of the Unforgettable yarn because it really is a lovely yarn to work with. The hardest part for me is admitting to myself when something is not working like I wanted it to. With this yarn all I needed to do was make the stitches a little taller and it sorted itself out. I can totally see how with your character creation just a little tweak in their personality can sort it all out too. With my color pooling problem it really came down to a little bit of math to solve it. Well, that and a good old fashioned stubborn nature. Which I think we both share along with a healthy dose of optimism and positive thinking. I am really enjoying our crisscross creativity! Now I need to go meet Charlotte. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tami! I really love those parallels you are drawing between yarn work and writing. I think you are onto something there. And yes, I have that stubbornness as well. Sometimes I think it would be easier if I could just let go of a thing that isn’t working … the happy news is, I’m learning to take a break instead of keeping at it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Meghan! I have not been able to get the argyle design to work. I am definitely going to try it again this winter I think. It is so dependent on controlling the tension and I’m not sure I have the patience for that. LOL. I really like the lacier look on this wrap too and I’m glad I went with the tall treble stitches. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this post for a lot of reasons. As a matter of fact, I sat on my hands before leaving a comment because I needed to be concise about it. I really like how you played with the stitch pattern to get the yarn to do what you wanted because I think it will help a lot of people swap out self-striping yarns for patterns. You’ve sort of exposed a caveat about crochet patterns that use self-striping yarns: the dye repeat really has to be the same as the suggested yarn or you have to alter the height of the stitches. This is not true for knitting patterns written for self-striping yarns, which rely a lot more on randomness and how many stitches you have, which in turn makes it a lot easier to substitute one mult-colored yarn for another without a lot of thought. As a matter of fact, the whole fad about creating crochet argyle patterns from self-striping yarns is a lesson worth studying to achieve the results you have created. It’s seriously hilarious because you changed the height of the stitches by one and got the same results from the written pattern. I see no overall difference between what you’re creating and the fab photos of the project produced from the pattern with the “faithful heights” which I really think is a concept crocheters can learn and use to a lot of advantage, whether to save money or just use a multi yarn with colors they want.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Tony! I love your comment and would also love to read an unabridged version! Although my post was to demonstrate how to fix the specific problem I had, I think it speaks to the bigger situation of many crocheters being afraid or uneasy with changing anything about a pattern. I could have easily just put that yarn aside and used the other yarn that had shorter distance between color changes and was closer to the weight of the recommended yarn for the pattern. But I WANTED to use this yarn. The taller stitch I think also was the way to go for the weight of the yarn regardless of the color complications.
      I guess the overall message is to encourage crocheters to be braver and more confident in their skills. I follow patterns as more of a loose guideline. I’m usually more interested in learning a concept or method that I can alter to make/design what I want. At the risk of sounding cliche, I’m hoping to inspire crocheters to think outside of the box – or in this case the pattern.
      I really enjoy your thoughts/opinions that you cover in your own posts and in your comments!! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • Trudy we really ARE virtual sisters!! Or as I like to call it “Twinternet sisters” My Unforgettable purchase was an impulse too!! It sat in my stash for about 6 months. It really worked nice for this wrap. I bought 3 more skeins last night (intentionally not impulse) because I loved it so much making the wrap. The color is Dragonfly – purple/green/blue and I’m going to make a short sleeved sweater I think. I’ve been resisting the urge all day to start work on it. LOL πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

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