Knitting with Variegated Yarn

As I mentioned both here on the blog, on Instagram and on Youtube, I’m hosting my first ever make a long, the #MarchIntoSpring22 make a long. The idea behind it is to explore how yarn knits up using different dye techniques. For details on the MAL, check out this blog post.

In my shop, I offered up the March Into Spring box, which are the colors I’ll be using all Spring. You can use whatever color you want!

This month, I’ll be working on the variegated colorway, Tulips. I’m actually going to work on vanilla socks for a few reasons. I do have plenty of pattern recommendations as well.

Background on the colorway:

  • This color was inspired by the Tulips color from the mood board, which had a lot of yellows, peaches and light oranges. To tie it in with the other colors, I added in some deep pinks and blues into the skein. I absolutely love how this color came out and cannot wait to see how it works up.
  • In general, I wanted the variegated colorway to be soft and not too color blocked. I love how this color came out because we do see quite a few colors, but it will knit up into a soft spring color and it won’t be too wild.

Things to Look Out for When Knitting with Variegated Yarn

  • When thinking about any project, it’s always good to think about what you want it to look like and what the project is about. Since variegated yarn is often full of various shades and color, a good way to showcase it is to use a simpler pattern (although, of course, there are no rules in hobbies or crafts, so you do you).
  • If you choose to do a patterned sock, keep in mind that you don’t want a busy pattern with expectations that something like lace work will show up. The changes in the colors can keep your eyes from seeing the patterns.
  • If you want to use a textured pattern, keeping to the same bullet above, my recommendation is to focus on simple knit and purl patterns.
  • Texture patterns will add to the variegation. What I love about patterned socks is that some are just so simple that they aren’t meant to be there for the pattern itself. They’re made to make the knitting more enjoyable or to just add a bit of fun. Definitely a process vs product thought there.
  • If a colorway has a lot of very different colors, the simpler the pattern the better.
  • If a colorway has a lot of colors, but is overall a single tone, you can play with the pattern a bit. That’s how Tulips was dyed, which makes it a great candidate for a textured pattern.
  • Vanilla socks are always a good option.

Recommendations on patterns:

  • Hermione’s everyday socks – simple knit/purl texture. You’ll still see the colorways, but it will add a new texture to it. Great for beginner knitters too!
  • Red robin socks – really fun pattern by Helen Stewart – adds a bit more, but not a design you need to ‘see’ so it shouldn’t be compete with the yarn.
  • Tin can knits – Rye Light Socks – has a garter panel that will be a bit of interest and again, not a distraction from the yarn.

DK patterns

  • Tracie Millar – Saturday socks
  • Artist Garden socks (use fingering held double)
    • Meant to be stash busting, but includes marling and I think it would be really fun to see these knit up with the contrast held with the variegated yarn,

Vanilla sock patterns

  • Crazy Sock Lady – free sock patters/tutorials

Youtube tutorials


What I’m doing with the April March Into Spring make a long.

  • Vanilla socks
    • Why? No real good reason other than I feel a tad behind and for me, vanilla socks can be knit in a week, if that. Otherwise, I would totally do any of the ones I listed of course 🙂

I really hope to see different things or even all vanilla socks and talk about it later this month. I may even do some swatches of other patterns if there’s time and everyone opts for vanilla. The focus of this knit a long is to talk about how different dyeing techniques knit up and we’ll talk more about this style later this month. I have a blog post up with these notes as well. I’ll plan to edit it with other patterns/ideas from all of you or do a follow up one. Chat below, on instagram or wherever and keep up with each other.

Can’t wait to see how it goes!

One thought on “Knitting with Variegated Yarn

  1. Totally agree with your pattern advice. I do recommend Swirl E by Susie White, and it’s free on Ravelry, for a basic purl pattern that lets the yarn shine.

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