Variegated Yarn is Like a Box of Chocolates … (Swatching Part II)

Adopted from the all-time favorite movie Forrest Gump, the blog title shall be completed as “You never know what you’re gonna get”. And as exploring minds like our customer Cindy Adams (CRA on Ravelry) have already discovered, this is particularly true for weaving variegated yarns on pin looms of different sizes.

This blog explores how weaving variegated yarns is difficult to plan and creates random projects with a hard to predict outcome.

Sounds awful? … Ok let’s rewrite it:

This blog explores how weaving variegated yarns is full of surprises and creates one-of-a-kind projects with unique expression.

Both statements are true. We prefer the latter.

To get an idea of what you’re getting into with a variegated yarn, swatching is essential. Let’s look at some examples. Using different variegated yarns, we made swatches on all three TURTLE looms.

Let’s start with Loops & Threads Impeccable in Folklore, a variegated yarn with several colors in short succession. The fabric on the TexaTURTLE™ looks almost painted and promises to be repeatable. The TinyTURTLE™ gets some color, too, but has more of a striped effect. The results on the original TURTLE Loom™ seem to be happily in between.

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Next there is Yarn Bee Aurora Borealis in Midnight Masquerad with many colors with … well, you can’t really call it a color run. This yarn produces similar results for all sizes.

Then we learned that not all “ombre” yarns are created equal. Look at Patons Classic Wool in Seabreeze Ombre, and Yarnspirations Caron Simply Soft in Grape Purple Ombre. While the Patons ombre creates almost tartan like fabric, The Caron Simply Soft ombre is … as playful as can be!

Continuing with Caron, here is Yarnspirations Caron Simply Soft in Times Square Stripes. While the results on the larger looms are more the tartan way, the “stripes” in the yarn are long enough to also produce solid hexagons on the TinyTURTLE™ loom.

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One yarn that has a long color run that smoothely transition into each other is KnitPicks Chroma Worsted in Confetti. With this yarn, you get shades …

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We also would like to mention I Love This Cotton Print in Harvest. This yarn not only has a color run, but also looks spray dyed, which makes the colors seem to melt into each other. The largest hexagon almost looks like a sunset scene …

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Lastly, we want to share with you Yarn Bee Fair Isle in Sunset Bluff. This yarn features long color runs, and within some parts of that the yarn is dotted. The results are either crazy or creative, we leave that up to you …

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These are merely examples. There is no way to cover all possibilities. And there are no clear rules other than:

Try the yarn you’re interested in … and SWATCH!

Here are some tips for swatching variegated yarns:

  • Make 2-3 hexagons to see a better variety of results.
  • Try weaving your variegated yarn on different sized hexagon pin looms and study the results. You may like the effect on a certain loom size better than on another.
  • Make more hexagons than your project asks for and choose the ones that you like best.

And should you ever get bored, here are some extra “variegated yarns” challenges for you:

  • For a total surprise (particularly at the beginning of a ball), weave your hexagons using the center pull strand of your yarn. You really won’t know what you’re gonna get until you weave it …
  • Using the outside strand of your yarn, challenge yourself to guess what your hexagon will look like before you weave it. Let’s use the pictured Chroma skein as an example:
    • What will the next 2 yards be like (TinyTURTLE™)? Most likely plain orange.
    • What will the next 6 yards be like (original TURTLE Loom™)? The outer circles will be orange, the center weaving area will be yellow/orange.
    • What will the next 13 yards be like (TexaTURTLE™)? A smooth mix of orange, yellow, and green … in the center mixed with blue.

Still reading? Ok, we saved the best for last. One of the variegated yarns we tested turned into surprisingly pretty hexagons, at least in our opinion:

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And here is what we started with, so to say the “before” picture:

The yarn is the all time classic Noro Kureyon. If you want to try out weaving with variegated yarns, we would like to suggest that you try this yarn. You will need two balls of Noro Kureyon, and you will need the original TURTLE Loom™ to weave this autumn table runner. You can find the complete project information on Ravelry: Noro Kureyon Autumn Table Runner.

Happy variegated yarn journey!

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