Variegated Yarn

I have this fascination with variegated yarn. While it’s often beautiful, it can also be challenging and frustrating to work with.

I’m here to share with you everything I’ve learned about variegated yarn in the 30+ years I’ve been knitting and crocheting with it:

  • The good
  • The bad
  • The ugly
  • The hideously ugly
  • And also the triumphs, the successes, and the truly spectacular projects that can result when you discover the perfect marriage between stitch, yarn colorway and pattern.

My goal here is to help propel you into the phase where you’re experiencing these sorts of triumphs and successes as well. I hope you’ll learn from my failures with variegated yarn, and save yourself some of the headaches that I went through when I was getting a handle on working with it.

What Is Variegated Yarn? Learn the Glossary Definition for Variegated Yarn:

Variegated yarn is yarn that has variations throughout. The word “variegated” shares the same root as the words “variety” and “varied.” The term “variegated,” when used to describe yarn, typically indicates that color or texture variations are present throughout the entire skein or hank of the yarn.

Variegated is a term that can describe several different types of color or texture variations in yarn:

  • Ombre yarn

  • Space-dyed yarn

  • Dip-dyed yarn

  • Kettle-dyed yarn

  • Self-striping yarn

  • Striated yarn

  • Heathered yarn

  • Tweed yarn


These types of variegated yarn each offer distinctive visual characteristics.

The Best Patterns for Knitting and Crocheting With Variegated Yarn:

Self-Striping Projects to Crochet


Bonnie Barker is famous for designing fabulously textured, aran-style crochet projects. She has written multiple books on this topic, plus even more books that include aran crochet patterns even if those aren’t the specific focus of the book.


I own a couple of Bonnie’s Aran crochet pattern books. I have the impression that most of Bonnie’s crochet projects are designed using a single, solid color. This only makes sense, as it is easiest to showcase textured fabrics in one color. BUT it is possible to make spectacular fabrics that incorporate both color and texture — and that’s what’s most remarkable about Bonnie’s brand new crochat pattern book called Self-Striping Projects.


This book offers you some of Bonnie’s trademark texture patterns that are intended to be used with eye-catching self-striping yarns. The interplay between texture and color in these projects is truly captivating.


In addition to the aran crochet patterns, the book also includes several projects that incorporate lovely lace patterns.


If you want to crochet with confidence using self-striping yarns, I think this book will prove to be extremely valuable to you. Definitely check it out!

Learn More About Self-Striping Projects by Bonnie Barker:

Ice Cream Baby Afghan Knitting Pattern Booklet


Ice Cream Baby Afghans Book Featuring Colorful Baby Blanket Knitting Patterns That All Utilize Variegated and Self-Striping Yarn
Ice Cream Baby Afghans Book Featuring Colorful Baby Blanket Knitting Patterns That All Utilize Variegated and Self-Striping Yarn

If you’re interested in knitting baby blankets using self-striping yarns with lovely long color repeats, Ice Cream Baby Afghans is a book you’ll want to check out. It’s a beginner-friendly book featuring chic, sophisticated blanket patterns that make the best possible use of self-striping yarn colorways.

How Many Variegated Yarns Is Too Many?

Discover case studies where we analyze some projects to learn what we can about combining variegated yarns into the same piece.

4 Secrets for Success With Variegated Yarn

If you’re drawn to colorful variegated yarns, you’ve probably discovered that they aren’t as easy to work with as you might have thought. This brief guide will help you understand how to get the best out of the money you spend on multicolored yarns.

5 Ways to Combine Variegated Yarn

Yes, I know, combining multiple variegated yarns probably sounds like a crazy idea. And it IS crazy, if you don’t do it right. You can end up with a big mess if you overlook some of the simple “do’s” and “don’ts” that I’ve discussed in this handy guide.

On the other hand, some of my most outstanding crochet projects have been made using these ideas, and I hope you’ll also have similarly spectacular results when you apply them to your own crochet work.


This page was last updated on 11/1/2018.

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