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How to Create Planned Yarn Color Transitions in Crochet

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I like to think that I am not a controlling person. Give me a crochet hook and some yarn though and all bets are off. Learning how to create planned yarn color transitions in crochet can take an ordinary crocheted gift and transform it into an out-of-this-world-extraordinary crocheted gift. We are not talking about planned color pooling (which is gorgeous, don’t get me wrong) but the actual controlling of the colors in a variegated skein of yarn so that the colors transition the way you like.

How to Create Planned Yarn Color Transitions in Crochet

How to Plan Yarn Color Transitions in Crochet

Creating planned yarn color transitions in crochet takes nothing but patience (and a little extra weaving in ends) and I’ll show you how.

How to Create Planned Yarn Color Transitions in Crochet

When choosing your yarn, you’ll want to find a nice yarn cake (or variegated yarn without too frequent color changes). You don’t want to have to cut and reattach your yarn every ten inches. In fact, I wouldn’t even try to control the colors if that’s how it going to be.

In this tutorial I am making a pair of my Dragon Tears Fingerless Gloves because I love the way they look when I tell the colors where to go. Since this pattern is two gloves instead of just one item (say a baby cocoon for example), it would be easiest if I had two skeins of yarn.  That way I could pull the same color from each skein, making the gloves nearly identical.  While it would be easiest, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done with just one skein without wasting a whole bunch of yarn in the process.  In fact, I like the result of planned yarn color transitions with this method even better.

How to Create Planned Yarn Color Transitions in Crochet

These two pairs of gloves were made from the same skein of yarn.  Yes, these are from the same skein of Mandala (Chimera colorway).  GORGEOUS!!  You could use any other yarn cake or yarn that transitions slowly from color to color.  If you are working with just one yarn cake like myself (in this tutorial using Lion Brand’s new Mandala yarn in Thunderbird) color controlling may be a bit more difficult.  Get your hook, your yarn cake and your scissors and do your finger exercises.

How to Create Planned Yarn Color Transitions in Crochet

1.  Cut it up

First we are going to “open up” the skein by finding where each color ends.  Clip them so that you have piles of yarn in each color: yellow, blue, orange, brown etc.

How to Create Planned Yarn Color Transitions in Crochet

2. Plan it out

Decide which way you would like the colors to transition. Do you want to start with brown, then move to orange, then yellow?  You may also take into account how much of each yarn you have. If you want the wrist portion to be mostly one color, then you’ll need to position the color with the most amount of yarn for the wrist portion etc. Play with the colors and when you’ve decided, move on to step #3. Here’s how I’m planning my gloves:How to Create Planned Yarn Color Transitions in Crochet

3. Pull from each side

Since I am using a pattern that requires two gloves to be made (and I want them to be identical) I am going to pull from each side of each color as I crochet.  Left glove comes off the left side of the yarn pile, right glove comes off the right side of the yarn pile.

How to Create Planned Yarn Color Transitions in Crochet

4. Back and forth

Complete one row on each glove until you don’t have enough yarn to complete another row on each.  If I start my gloves with the brown, I’ll complete my foundation row and my first row of crocodile stitches on my left glove, then I’ll complete my foundation row and my first row of crocodile stitches on my right glove.

How to Create Planned Yarn Color Transitions in Crochet

When I don’t have enough brown to complete an entire row on each, I’ll clip that yarn and prepare to change colors to the next in my sequence.  Tip: Don’t toss that brown yarn! We just might be able to use it later on!

How to Create Planned Yarn Color Transitions in Crochet

5. Change your colors

Change the yarn color to the next on your sequence using the same technique outlined in our How to Change Colors in Crochet article. Continue with the pattern, completing one row on the left hand and one row on the right hand. Alternate back and forth until you cannot complete a row on each glove using that color.

How to Create Planned Yarn Color Transitions in Crochet

That is it! You will have to weave in a few extra ends this way. But to me it’s worth it.

Remember that planned yarn color transitions uses more artistic license than simply picking up a skein and letting the colors fall where they may. You are in control, so if you decide that you don’t like the way one particular color looks next to another, you can frog it (rip it, rip it out) and change the order. No harm no foul.

Dragon Tears Fingerless Gloves Crochet Pattern

I personally try to keep similar color families together.  For instance, I may not want to place the blue RIGHT NEXT to the yellow, for the simple fact that I want my gloves to be more “earthy” with the brown, orange, yellow etc.  BUT if you are using the Mandala you can use the blue, green and that muted blue to make a second pair. One Mandala yarn cake is large enough for two pair!

Will you try planned yarn color transitions? If you do, I want to see your work! Share a photo with us in the Heart Hook Home Crochet Community group on Facebook!

More yarn love before you go:

The Difference in Bernat Pop! Yarn Cakes, Caron Cakes, Mandala and Sweet Rolls
Inexpensive and Easy Yarn Organization Wall
How to Size Crochet Beanies + Master Beanie Pattern
The Crab Stitch Crochet Stitch + Video Tutorial
How to Weave in Yarn Ends {So They Don’t Come Out}
How to Crochet a Corner to Corner (C2C) Throw + Video Tutorial

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  1. Hi, i would really like to Pin the color pooling post but the pin link isn't cooperating for that article. I have a learning board on Pinterest that i would like to pin it to. I really like that way you explain this process. Thank you, Linda
  2. Love your website. Love your videos. They are clear and you move at a great pace. I've tried lots of store bought yarn. I don't want to go high end (too expensive), but can you recommend an online yarn source for 100% acrylic, no-pill/low-pill, worsted weight-4 (something that's on the thicker side -- like Vanna White yarn)? I want to try something new that you can't find in stores. Thank you!
  3. That's so awesome! I would've never thought to do this! I can't wait to use this technique in knitting socks and mittens. I was wondering how I could use this yarn to make my newest found gift.... socks and mittens! So quick, so useful-how could you go wrong?
  4. This is why I never buy balls or cakes of wool like this. Your better off buying the different colours you want and then your know you have enough, the colour's will go together (the don't always in my opinion in these cakes) and it will cost about the same.
  5. I just subscribed & purchased the Dragon Tears Fingerless Gloves Pattern. Your planned yarn transition article is excellent! Thank you.
  6. You are a FREAKING GENIUS!! Planning my sunset afghan with my Scarlet Sizzle Bernat Pops, I've been looking at the cakes thinking I want more color changes. More abrupt. A sunset has some long stretches of each color, and some bright splashes. This article is going to help me IMMENSELY!! THANK YOU!!!!
  7. Hi I have the pattern for dragon tears fingerless gloves but wondered if you have translated version for England as cant understand the US one thank you