We’ve all done it. We’ve all been seduced by the beautiful colours in the skein, only to find that the knitted or crocheted fabric leaves a lot to be desired. Sometimes it’s a strange pooling effect, sometimes it looks like a new and weird army camouflage and sometimes it renders a beautiful stitch almost invisible. That beautiful, mesmerising colour turns out to be clown barf when you actually work with it.
It is particularly painful when you are many rows deep into your project before you realise you just don’t like it.
Take these socks, for example. One sock has some pooling, resulting in a quite regular diagonal striping on the leg, but the way the rest of the colours has pooled doesn’t really appeal to me. It was a pretty bargain skein I picked up on holiday a few years back and I persevered because it was my first pair of socks and I was more interested in learning sock construction than anything else.
I had a little of the yarn left over and used it in a shawl, but after it was finished, I really wished I hadn’t.
The colour didn’t do anything for the shawl, but I really didn’t want to undo all that crochet, so I got the dyepot out and I hand painted a pinky-purple dye onto the offending variegated stripes. This is how it looked after the overdyeing.
Much better and it sold not long after that, so it was obviously the right thing to do.
If you’ve got any of these skeins hanging around in your stash that you’ve fallen out of love with, it could be worth experimenting with different stitches.
In this swatch of self striping yarn, you can see the distinct pooling at the top when worked in regular double/treble crochet, compared to the way the colours stripe when worked in tunisian knit stitch crochet. At first glance, you would be forgiven for thinking that it was worked in alternating stripes of teal and variegated pinky/purple, but it’s not. Tunisian knit stitch uses a lot more yarn than regular knitting, and makes a dense, warm fabric. Because it uses more yarn, it changes the placement of the colours compared to regular crochet or knitting.
One of the things I like to do with variegated yarn is to pair it with a solid or neutral colour that really makes it pop. This hat does just that with a Skittles colourway paired with a soft beige and edged with a pinky red. It uses a quite complex crochet stitch to create vertical stripes, letting the beige act as a foil for the multicoloured yarn to really pop.
I hope that’s given you some ideas for how to use multicoloured yarn. And if all else fails, get in touch and I might be able to re-dye the skein or even overdye your finished project.