Tutorial: Make a custom Gradient Yarn

I have a little secret to tell you- you can make your own gradient yarn by holding two thicknesses of solids, together!

Here’s the tutorial!

First, gather up the yarns you’d like to compose your gradient. You can go as subtle or as crazy with your line-up of colors as you want!

Rainbow of Louet Gems colors

Here’s the ‘formula’ for making your gradient. Label your colors in order (let’s call them ‘color 1’, ‘color 2’, etc.)

Knit with 2 strands of color 1.
Knit with 1 strand of color 1 and 1 strand of color 2.
Knit with 2 strands of color 2.
Knit with 1 strand of color 2 and 1 strand of color 3.
and so on!

Yup, it’s really that easy!

If you’re a ‘planner’, you’ll want to knit the first section (with the same color doubled) for about 2/3 of the skein of yarn, leaving 1/3 for you to use singly with the next color. This results in color sections of equal length.

Knitting with 2 colors of yarn at once

I find it easiest to do if I’ve wound my yarn into a center-pull ball, and pull 1 strand from the inside and a second strand from the outside. (but there are many ways to work with 2 strands of yarn at once!)

When you’re ready to switch, cut one strand of color 1 (leaving one strand attached), and knit the desired number of rows holding 1 strand of color 1 and one strand of color 2 (you may naturally find yourself finishing color 1):

Knitting with 2 different colors of yarn, held together

And continue!

Make a custom gradient yarn

Isn’t this lovely? Shown in Gems Worsted in Cherry, Petunia, Lilac and Aqua. Knit on a 10.5 needle (working as a bulky yarn)
It’s that easy! And if you have a lot of the same weight of yarn (for example, if you’re a sock knitter and have a lot of fingering weight skeins), this is an amazing stash-busting technique!

Following a Pattern

You can use this technique in any pattern that calls for a solid or gradient yarn! For inspiration, check out this Pinterest board of Rainbow and Ombre items!

How do you calculate the thickness of yarn you’ll need? Check the recommended weight in the pattern. Since you’ll be holding 2 strands of yarn together, so you want to use yarn that is approximately 2 weights smaller than your pattern calls for, that totals twice as much yardage. (For example, 2 strands of lace-weight knit up to about a sport-weight gauge).

Of course, do a gauge swatch with two strands of yarn so that you get the right gauge!

Gradient Flair

The pattern, Gradient Flair by Gwen Bortner uses this technique, and it’s gorgeous! So, if you want to try making your own gradient yarn but want more step-by-step instructions, this skirt could be right for you!

Gwen used Cottolin (which is traditionally a ‘weaving yarn’ because of it’s thinness), but holds 3 strands together and knits it up on a size 6 needle.

And with 70 colors? I bet you’ll find your dream gradient!

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