Monthly Archives: October 2013

Variegated Yarn, Part 3: Types of Variegation

In the previous two posts, we have been focusing on the specific yarn shown below:


This yarn has what we could call ‘short patterning’.  The entire cycle of TBBTWOOW repeats itself rather quickly.  In the sample swatches, the pattern starts over every 1 1/2 – 2 rows.  If we used this yarn for a bigger project, the color pattern would repeat within the same row.

Here are some other yarns with short patterning:

  Caron Simply Soft Yarn-4ozLion<SUP>® </SUP> Cotton

All of these yarns will produce zigzag patterning or diagonal striped patterning, depending on whether you work in rows or in the round.

On the other end of the spectrum, here is an example of ‘long patterning’ variegated yarn:

Yarn Kaleidoscope  Boutique Unforgettable™, large

This yarn will not produce zigzag or diagonal striped patterning.  It will produce stripes, whether it is worked in the round or in rows.  The width of the stripe depends on how wide the work is.  For example, if you used this yarn to make a sweater, the body of the sweater will have narrower stripes than the sleeves.

It is fairly easy to tell the difference between short patterning and long patterning variegated yarn just by looking at it in the skein.  For short patterning yarns, the adjacent strands of yarn will be different colors, and for long patterning yarn, there will be sections of strands of the same color.

Finally, there is also ‘self-striping’ yarn.  This is different from the ‘long patterning’ yarn in that it is generally more intricate and meant to be used for certain projects such as socks.

Self-striping yarn will generally be advertised as such.  It can be tricky to use self-striping yarn for projects other than ones it is intended for.