Variegated, Ombre and Hand-Painted Yarns, Oh My!

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Have you ever wondered what the difference is between variegated, ombre and hand-painted yarns?

Variegated yarns change from one distinct color to another. You’ll find a great variety of variegated yarns available, each with it’s own unique color variation. Variegated yarns can have short repeats with clear color separation, or longer repeats allowing the colors to gradually shift from one shade to another.

Depending on how the yarn is dyed, some variegated yarns can ‘pool’ or ‘puddle’ creating areas where the same color ends up in the same spot in each row. This can create an interesting design or be an annoyance depending on your project. Alternating between two different balls or skeins of the same color will help eliminate the puddling affect.

There are a wide variety of variegated yarns on the market today making it difficult to choose just one! Here are two yarns that show just a bit of the variety available to crocheters.

Gina from Plymouth Yarns has a long, blended color repeat making it ideal choice for a beautiful cozy shawl or warm cardigan.


This Quick & Easy Cozy Crocheted Wrap crocheted in Gina would make the perfect gift for a book-lover.


Premier Yarns Ever Soft Multis is a fun variegated yarn which alternates short and long color repeats to create a lot of interest.


This throw from Ever Soft Crochet Afghans pairs variegated yarns with solid colors to add interest and would be so much fun to crochet!


Ombre is a French term meaning shaded, and usually refers to a gradual color change from light to dark or from one color to another. Caron Simply Baby is an easy-care worsted-weight acrylic that is the perfect choice for cute baby blankets and sweaters.

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The ombre yarn used as a border on this simple project from Quick Stitch Baby Blankets adds just the right touch!


Hand-painted refers to yarns that have been dyed by hand or yarns which are commercially spun or dyed with random color changes. Popular on the market today, you’ll find a variety of ‘indie yarns’ dyed by fiber artists. Koigu Wool Designs is one such company dyeing small batches of ultra-soft merino wool yarns.

Dye lots are usually small and oftentimes there is a slight difference from one skein to another. To even out the colors, work with 2 balls or skeins alternating every two rows. Don’t cut your yarn, just carry it up the side edges.


Although hand-dyed yarns from indie dyers tend to be more expensive, a little can go a long way. The crocheted triangular scarf shown here from Lightweight Scarves takes just one ball of Koigu Wool Designs Painter’s Palette or Plymouth Yarn Happy Feet . Light and lacy, this beautiful scarf can be worn into the summer months when air-conditioned restaurants and work places get too chilly.


 Caron Simply Soft Paints is a commercially produced yarn that will give the look of a hand-painted yarn for less. The hand-painted characteristics shine through with short random color repeats creating the painterly look.


Wouldn’t our popular Chalet Cardigan look stunning in Caron Simply Soft Paints!


Whether you use a hand-dyed or commercially dyed hand-paint yarn, you’ll feel like an artist as you crochet! Choose simple textures and lace patterns to show off hand-paint yarns to their best advantage.

We hope you love multi-colored yarns as much as we do! Try them all; variegated, ombres or hand-paints and let the colors of the rainbow inspire your spring crochet projects!


2 Responses to Variegated, Ombre and Hand-Painted Yarns, Oh My!

  1. Maxine Oberg says:

    How do I get the pattern for the green shawl with pockets shown here? Thanks!

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