Variegated Rainbow Knitting

There has been a recent run on variegated rainbow yarn and why not? Of course variegated yarn calls to us. Of course rainbow colors make us want to pick it up and give it a good home. It is exciting and colorful and usually matches our mood when we are out shopping. I know when I get a few extra bucks to lay down on some yarn, I'm cheery and full of energy and I usually come home with yarn that matches that description.  

The problem comes when we have come down from our fiber high and are caking this baby up.  I've been there.  You gently lift it from the ball winder and hold it aloft to admire it in all of its beautiful glory. Maybe you start singing "Circle of Life" from The Lion King. Then, after a few minutes, you look around frantically for needles, desperate to cast something, ANYTHING on.  Finally, doubt starts to creep into your mind as you cast on and all of the colors run together in a maddening blur that no longer resembles the beauty it once was.  


It's not the yarn's fault. It's not our fault. It's just a choice of pattern. So to help inspire you to cast on those variegated rainbow yarns, like One Twisted Tree's 93 Diagon Alley, I have some patterns ideas for your enthusiastic perusal.

Some obvious choices are patterns written for rainbow yarn. Martina Behm's Endless Rainbow shawl will use thin, long stripes of your rainbow and keep the colors from becoming muddy with a solid main color. Sarah Shoo's Whiz Bang socks were written with the 93 Diagon Alley colorway in mind. This is a great patterned sock that features a toe up, double gusset, Bootylicious Heel.

There are not a lot of patterns out there that are written specifically for variegated rainbow yarn. It's hard to wrangle all of those amazing colors, but never fear! We just need to look at the patterns in a different way. I have three approaches to help you pick out projects for variegated rainbows: 

1. Keep it Simple
On a normal day at work, you wouldn't wear a glittered blouse with rainbow plaid pants and light up pumps (and if you are, honey this is your intervention), but this is how you can feel knitting with a variegated rainbow yarn. It's a lot to take in. One way to keep that rainbow cheery is to keep your colors from becoming muddy and keeping your pattern simple. The Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure is an uncomplicated hat that will keep the focus on your yarn. The Drop Stitch Scarf by Christine Vogel is an easy and simple scarf pattern that really shows off the yarn nicely. Trillian by Martina Behm is a garter stitch shawl with a fishnet border that keeps colors fun and bright.

2. Choose a Stitch Pattern Wisely
Remember the Templar Knight in Indian Jones and the Last Crusade who says, "Choose wisely..."? Then the guy drinks from the wrong grail cup and turns to dust? Listen to the Knight and choose your stitch pattern wisely (or turn to dust, up to you I guess).  While keeping it simple is good for a while, eventually you are going to want more pizzazz in your knitting project. A seed stitch or slip stitch can break up your yarn a bit and highlight smaller bits of color which is easier on the eyes. 

Show-off Stranded Socks by Anne Campbell and Collywobbles by Fibretown Designs both use a stitch pattern that pulls out small strands of your yarn to show off a little bit of color at a time on your socks. The Cool Clavicle Cover by Megan Williams and the Tan House Brook Shawl by Jennifer Lassonde are shawls with patterning that is variegated rainbow friendly

3. Yarn Pairing
Think about that bridesmaid dress you wore for your friend's wedding. Why would your friend want you all in that color? Because the bride should shine on her wedding day and the best way to focus attention on her is to contrast her beautiful solid white dress with a more wild and colorful backdrop of bridesmaids. If you want your color to tastefully pop, try pairing it with a background of muted solid color. Loop by Casapinka and  Spectra and Daybreak by Stephen West are shawls that use the bridesmaid theory perfectly. If you are feeling adventurous with sock patterns, try Broken Seed Stitch Socks by Handepande or Megan Willams' Static Zing!

So don't be afraid to take your variegated rainbow yarn and cast on. With a little strategy, you can make that yarn as effervescent in your finished project as it was in the skein. 

Do you have other patterns you use for variegated rainbow yarn? Leave a comment and let us all know!