7 Reasons why using variegated yarn

Have you heard of variegated yarns?

They are those yarns that are not made of a solid color, such as red, blue, etc. Rather, they are made up of a mix of colors.

They can be made with several shades of the same color (tone over tone) or, more drastically, using completely different colors, to form a set of 2, 3, 4 or more colors in one single ball. Like a rainbow yarn!

As we are talking about yarn colors, which responds to personal taste above all, I do not want to impose this type of yarns to you.

If they are not really a fan of variegated yarns, no problem!

But I do want to tell you about the advantages or 7 good reasons that I have discovered that will convince you to at least try this type of yarn in your next pin loom projects.

Let’s start with some general information about them first.

HOW VARIEGATED YARN IS MADE

The process to make it is done on an industrial scale, dyeing the skeins of yarn using the space dyeing technique: applying the different colors one by one in different areas of the skein.

This can be done by hand in a very similar way, dyeing the skein in a pot and using a chemical material to seal the colors.

You can try it at home! On YouTube there are many simple videos that teach you how to try it out step by step.

COMPOSITION OF VARIEGATED YARN

The composition is completely varied, there are acrylic variegated yarns, 100% woo, made of cotton and also a mix of any of them. There is no composition requirement to do this type of dyeing.

There are different brands that make variegated yarn, in fact its use is very widespread for all kinds of clothing items, decoration, etc.

Of course, you can give them the use you want, since they are quite versatile. Crochet, knitting, macrame, embroidery and pin loom weaving, of course.

WHY USING VARIEGATED YARN

This is the core part of this post! Because these yarns have their cool facts!

I am going to refer to my experience using them specifically for pin loom weaving. Because whoever knitters or crocheters, will probably be able to give you other reasons to try this type of yarn!

So, the 7 advantages that I have discovered using vartiegated yarns are:

1.- Colors already combined

You don’t need to add colors to your woven piece, necessarily. The colors that the variegated yarn already has will be enough to create visual texture and chromatic harmony.

However, it is key that when you take a variegated ball of yarn, you like it as it is, before weaving it, since those colors will not necessarily look better once woven. Yes, it is likely that they will look different, because it will depend on the stitch you weave.

This vest was made only with woven squares using mostly variegated yarn of multiple colors very well combined with each other.

2.- Multicolor effect

Using only one ball of yarn, you can see the effect of different colors mixed in the same woven piece.

When the colors used in the variegated yarn combine well, this effect looks wonderful, in harmony, so you don’t need more than that ball of yarn to achieve a good looking woven piece.

In these cases, you can create a very simple object or garment, using just a few woven squares, and the multicolor effect will do all the work.

This example of the Amaya design from my book Oversize Projects on a Pin Loom, woven with yarns from Malabrigo Yarn, perfectly fits this idea.

3.- Guaranteed texture

When you weave with a variegated yarn, whether you like it or not, your woven piece will have a visual texture, so consider this when choosing this type of yarn.

The good thing about this is that you can intensify that texture if you add other solid colored yarns to your work to match the shading.

For example, if your shading yarn is shades of red, try adding another shade of red yarn to the work, ideally a different shade of red than the variegated yarn. This will create texture and contrast within very similar colors.

In this example on the Zoom Loom, I used an aqua green solid color yarn for the warp and then a multi-green variegated yarn for the weft to intensify the contrast and texture effect.

4.- Visual clarity

For those who weave for the first time, it is ideal to use variegated yarns in your first exercises, since it allows to better distinguish what you are doing, the stitches, how many times you have to go over or under, etc.

Yes, you could also change the yarn color in the weave (adding color yarns), but that’s more complex than just making a full weave using just one variegated color yarn.

In this example of an infinity scarf in a variegated blue yarn, you can see that the stitch used is Herringbone. Although it is not completely distinguishable, it is easy to weave it step by step because the small contrast that is generated in each row helps doing the work.

5.- Complexity effect

Something that has caught my attention is that many people get confused when they see a woven piece made with variegated yarns. They believe that it is a more complex woven piece than it is, that it was made with stitches or patterns that are very intricate and difficult to follow.

The truth is that the variegated yarn creates a color change effect that is seen as something difficult to do, especially to more neophyte eyes, giving the impression that you have woven something at an advanced level, when it could be a completely basic plain weave in which the colors of the variegated yarn are doing the work alone.

Do you want to surprise someone with your weaving skills (if you don’t have them yet)? Then make your woven pieces with variegated yarns, that is a wise advice!

Look at the example of this cushion in brown tones. It seems made of various colors, doesn’t it? But it is not! It is just plain weave made with variegated yarn in shades of brown, terracotta and beige, using double yarn.

6.- Artisan look

When you buy solid color hand-dyed yarn, many times the color is not solid, but instead has slight shadings.

This is visually interesting, because once in the weave, it gives it a slight texture, a certain movement and dynamism. It is no longer perceived as flat, but with a certain visual richness, which gives it a unique, original, handcrafted look.

There are industrial yarns that intentionally make this effect, like some from Malabrigo Yarn, which I used for my latest book Oversize Projects on a Pin Loom. I did not notice it immediately, choosing the colors through the internet, but when I had the balls of yarn in my hands.

Without a doubt, it must be a yarn with a very, very slight nuance for this artisan-look effect to be achieved, as can be seen in the blue center of the Carmina design from my book Oversize Projects on a Pin Loom, woven with Malabrigo Yarn.

7.- Helps to camouflage errors

Although we are not thinking of making mistakes in a project in advance and having to cover them in some way, because we want it to be perfect, the truth is that many times you realize you have made a mistake only once you have removed the piece from the pin loom.

And you don’t want to start it all over again!

For these cases, variegated yarns are very useful, because they “trick the eye”. Having multiple colors makes it hard to tell where the error is, if I skipped a strand, etc.

Do the test, weave using multiple threads using variegated yarn and you will see that it is not noticeable either, simply textures are perceived.

In this example, on the Kayu multi loom, you can see how the shading of the yarns helps to camouflage the plain stitch of both pieces.

CONS

I think the only negative thing about variegated yarns is exactly the opposite of the last point I have just mentioned: they trick the eye and camouflage errors, but, for the same reason, they make it very difficult to distinguish a pattern or stitch.

So for those hard work patterns that you want to make in more than one color, I do not recommend these yarns, but rather use solid colored yarns and mix them in the woven piece to achieve the desired effect.

Or all your hard work won´t be noticeable!

In this example of the Aurora design from my book Oversize Projects on a Pin Loom, woven with Malabrigo Yarn, the pattern on each 4×4″ pin loom square is not fully appreciated as it is made using variegated yarn, but it does provide the enough texture that I was looking for this design´s style.

I hope you liked this post, I would love to read your experience using variegated yarns or if you already want to try them out, now that you know a little more about them.

Big hug!

Flor

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