Crochet 101: More on Colorwork

So we’ve talked about how to change colors without cutting ends and how to design a colorwork pattern, how could there be any MORE to it?

Well, unless you’re perpetually stuck in the land of stripes, you’re going to want to change colors in the middle of your work at some point. When THAT happens, this tends to happen as well:

before

See how the two colors sort of “bleed” into each other? Not very neat looking is it? So how can we AVOID that?

Easy! Stop following the instructions so closely.

*gasp* craft blasphemy!

Maybe more for some than others, but let me reassure you, this will NOT ruin your work. This isn’t like baking where if you use all white sugar when they tell you to use half brown and half white sugar you end up with CD’s instead of cookies (yeah seriously white sugar only= VERY flat cookies). It’s ok to fudge a little when it comes to your yarn. Not TOO much or someone is going to notice, but every now and then won’t hurt anything. Especially when it comes to working colors in the middle of the stitching.

When you’re working in stripes, you finish row one and pick up the new color for row two. To change in the middle is very similar, except before you finish your stitch, you’ll use the new color to complete the stitch BEFORE the pattern calls for you to change colors.

Let me show you.

My pattern (ok, it’s an imaginary pattern) says “with color A, sc 7. Change to color B, sc 1. Change to color A sc 7.”

I’ve finished 6 stitches here and I’m almost ready to change to a new color, but only for a few stitches. This is the last stitch before the pattern tells me to change colors (stitch 7 in color A):

set up

I haven’t yet finished the stitch in that picture because rather than using color A to finish that stitch, I’m going to pick up color B and use that to do the last yarn over and pull through.

add black

See how the loop on the hook is now the color I need to change to? That lets me start straight in on the next color.

black stitch

When I’m ready to switch back I follow the same process, picking up color A this time to complete the last stitch before the pattern says to switch. Keep that up back and forth (or round and round if you’re working rounds) and  you’ll have nice, clean colorwork.

This technique works for as many colors as you have to work with, but what happens when you have to add a NEW color in the middle of the row rather than adding it at the beginning of a row?

Well, it’s the same basic concept as what I demonstrated above. For those of you who are VERY confident in your tension, you don’t even need a slip stitch really, just pick up the new color as though it were already a part of the work.

For those of you who are a little less confident or a little newer to crochet, make your slip knot like normal, but slide it onto the hook in the middle of the stitch you want to finish, like this:

That slip stitch becomes the active loop (the one on the hook) and you’re ready to move on with your colors.

If everything here seems straight forward enough, then you should be ready to try out the new Nesting Baskets Pattern in the shop! Happy Crocheting!

after

 

 

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