Ok, maybe hate is too strong a word, but I'm talking about variegated yarn here. You know that familiar feeling when you walk into a yarn store - your hearts starts beating when you see all the amazing colors and different textures. Out of the corner of your eye, you see an amazing color combination and it's all contained in one skein! That's variegated yarn. But then you get home and start to use this perfect yarn with the perfect pattern, expecting to get a fabulous mix of colors. What you get instead is a finished product that has a distinct color pattern, exactly what you didn't want!

Well, maybe it's never happened to you, or maybe I'm just a yarn snob, but I tend to shy away from commercial variegated yarn. I'm not talking about the delicious hand-dyed stuff that's so good you should be required to get a prescription to buy it. Nope, I'm focused on the big name, usually crunchy-feeling 3-4 color yarn. Variegated yarn, by it's nature almost always gives you some pattern, just because the color repeats itself in fixed intervals. But knitted items made from this yarn usually turn out pretty cool looking. No one ever thinks of us hookers who want to achieve that same look.

(Neither one of these items were made by me, by the way. They're just examples of the color patterns)

Alas, I am working on a custom order right now for a kid's camo hat, I can pick the design, it just has to be camouflage colors. First of all, that's a pretty big range of color palettes, but I narrowed it down and and started searching the 3 places in my little town where I can buy yarn (Walmart, the high-end LYS, and a modest little craft store). Instead of buying 4 solid-colored skeins (most of which would not be used in the hat and I'd have a lot of yarn in colors I don't normally work with) I broke my rule.

I settled on a skein of surprisingly soft commercial yarn from the craft store (not Red Heart!!!!!) and got to work. I knew I couldn't bring myself to do a simple hdc or dc hat because I'd end up with exactly what I'm trying to avoid. Sometimes I like that variegated pattern, it's just not what I was looking for this time. I tried alternated rounds of hdc and sc. It was working for a while, but soon, a pattern started to emerge. It wasn't as obvious as the all-one-stitch hat would be, but I wasn't happy with it. Aside for the fact that I'm making this hat for my boss's kid, I knew I could create something much much better. The frogging began (frogging = ripping out your work. rip-it, rip-it, get it?).

I remembered an interesting stitch texture I saw once and thought, I could do that. It's called a 'basket weave stitch". basically it's a sc hat, but you work a ch between each sc and on the next round, work into the ch-space. Here's what resulted. There's still a pattern, but it's a little more subdue with a little more texture.In the end, I'm happy with it.



  1. The hat is very cute. I made a camo hat for my friends' sons, but knitted the hats instead of crochet. I can understand the frustration about the pattern, sometimes it just happens. Also, I think I used big hearts, here's the link if you want to check out my version of the camo hat.
    :-) http://www.ravelry.com/projects/martifavorites/knitted-cap

  2. I'm kinda surprised at you not liking the variegated yarns, but I completely understand your annoyance at a regular pattern. So far, I still love variegated yarns- even if they are commercial. But now you've got me thinking about looking in the hand-dyed sector. You still like dying your own yarns?

  3. Yes! I completely understand about the variegated yarns when crocheted. I just bought another, lured by the great colors, but I have little hope of finding the right stitch and the right use that will allow it to reveal itself as anything but clumsy. However, your hand-dyed yarn worked so magnificently in the koi pond cowl! If a yarn manufacturer consulted with you, I see a crochet-friendly variegated in the future :)

  4. caknitter - thanks for the link. I like the knitted version! the camo I picked turned out darker than I really wanted, but I don't have many options in my little mountain town.

    kokomolady - sometimes, I don't mind the pattern that variegated yarn makes. I just really didn't want it to be too obvious in this hat. and YES I still love dyeing yarn but lately I've had so many custom hat orders that I haven't had the time. hopefully soon!

    dar presto - thank you! I use a very big niddy noddy (if you know what that is) to prep my yarn for dyeing. It makes it easy to have much longer sections of color, which looks great in both knitting & crocheting!

  5. That makes me laugh. :) I have actually made a couple camo hats, I will have to show you a pic sometime.