August 05, 2015

Knitting With Variegated Yarn


Many of us are drawn to variegated yarn: it's fun, colourful and looks wonderful in a skein. However, what do you knit with it? Finding patterns that will play nicely with variegated yarn can be daunting, but there are a few stitch patterns and techniques I'm going to share with you today that actually compliment variegated colours. Once you know what these are, you should have no trouble finding patterns for those beautiful skeins of variegated yarn that you have in your stash.

Look For Patterns With Small Lace Repeats.

You might think that combining variegated yarn with a lace pattern is a no no, but this is not true!  Small lace and eyelet patterns that are repeated over and over look great with variegated yarns. Here are a few examples:


Brickless by Martina Behm


 Monkey by Cookie A


Baby Chalice Blanket by Karen S. Lauger


Wave by Kristen Finlay


Slipped Stitches And Variegated Yarns Are A Match Made In Heaven

It's true! The technique of slipping stitches actually alters the progression of colours, which in turn mixes them around. So next time your looking for a pattern to go with your variegated yarn, look for one that incorporates this technique. Here's some examples:

Bryter by Justyna Lorkowska


Caulfield by Amy Herzog


Scylla by Fiona Bennett


Field of Wildflowers by Joji Locatelli

Add Some Texture

Textured stitch patterns work in a similar way to slipped stitches, in that they alter the colour progression of variegated yarns.  Seed stitch, bobbles, textured patterns or cables over reverse stockinette stitch - even garter stitch - really show off variegated colour. Here are some examples:

Nelumbo by Asja Janeczek


Broken Seed Stitch Socks by handepande


Glitter by Ela Torrente


Prim Cardigan by Katya Frankel

Combine with a Semi-Solid/Solid Colour

Variegated yarns look fantastic when used together with semi-solid and solid colours in both colourwork or striped patterns.  The semi-solid/solid yarn helps to break up the variegated colour into smaller pieces; this approach can be really effective when used with fair-isle patterns. All you need to do is find a semi-solid/solid colour that contrasts well against the variegated yarn. Here are some examples:

Great Divide Shawl by Michele Brown


Marvelous Mitts by karendipity

Choose a simple design and let the yarn speak

There are so many simple patterns out there that are perfect for letting the yarn take centre stage. Choose a plain stockinette or garter-stitch pattern (if you don't like pooling make sure you alternate skeins) and wear your variegated yarn with pride!

Need some inspiration?  Check out what others have knit using variegated yarn over on Ravelry.

If you enjoyed this post please let me know in the comments below or, if you have some pattern suggestions for variegated yarn, I would love to hear them.

Until next week, happy knitting!