Did you ever have skeins, hanks, or balls of yarn that you don't have enough for one whole project that you would like to use it for? Well, with my black and cream yarn that was the case. I was thinking about what I could use the yarn for. And it came to me that I had this pattern that I wanted to make but I didn't have enough of one yarn for it. Why don't I mix the colors of the two different skeins together. There is always room in the closet for a black top or a black and white (in my case cream) top.
This is a play on color. I am creating one row suttle stripes by switching each color when I get to the end of the round. It can be a suttle color difference or bold color difference as in my black and cream top.
Let's look at my pictures below to see how this is done.
1. Make a slip knot and place it on your needle as the picture shows with the working yarn hanging in front of the tail.
2. I used the long tail cast on. Choose which color you want for your cast on edge and wrap that color around your thumb when making the cast on. For this example, you can see that the tan is my cast on edge and the cream becomes my cast on stitches on the needle.
3. You need to work two rows of the first color to get back to where you will pick up the second color. Notice that I have completed two rows of the cream and I am back to where the tan working yarn is. Because I will be carrying the yarn up the side of each color as I change colors, I am laying the cream over the tan so that when I pick up the tan to knit with it then the cream catches as it is crossed over the tan. This avoids long strands of yarn that just looks like a loop on the side. If you are knitting with circular needles and you are performing this kind of color change, then crossing the last working yarn used over the next yarn to be in use will avoid a hole in that area.
Here is my black and cream top. It is a pattern from the Holiday 2008 issue of VogueKnitting Magazine called Ribbed Pullover. I just need to graft under the arms and weave in the ends and it will be finished. It is knitted in the round which makes it oh so easy to switch colors. I used the long tail cast on with both colors so that the bottom edge would be the cream and my first round would be the black.
As I knit around and come to the end of the round, the one color (black) is dropped and I pick up the next color (cream). Before I drop the one color (black) I crossed the yarn over the next color (cream) so that the two colors lock protecting from a hole forming as the two colors are carried up the side.
The second project is this hat. Also worked in the round, but it gives a little bit of a different look.
The third project is this skinny scarf made with the honeycomb stitch. Because this is not done in the round it gives more of a stripe effect. But because of the stitch the stripe is less pronounced, showing more of a decoration. If you do this in stockinette stitch then it is more of a traditional stripe.
The two things to remember are to cross the two colors at the end of the row or round, whichever method of knitting you are using and to make sure you pick up the right color to continue. Make sure your yarns don't tangle as you switch colors with each round. It is easy to know if you have the right color because when you come to the end of the round the round shows the color you just worked. If you continue with that color at the beginning of the next round you will be working on top of the same color.
A great time that this method of changing colors could come in handy is if you purchase some yarn and you go back to the store months later and you can't get the same dye lot color. You haven't started on your project so this is good. You can get half of the yarn in the new dye lot and mix the yarn you already have working two row stripe change and you will not be able to tell a big difference of color because it will blend all in together. Just make sure that you have the right total yardage for your project.
So don't rule out what you want to make and don't give up on the yarn you have before you give yourself a chance to tap into your creative side. Make a sample of the two colors in a square or work a sample in the round to see if you like the mix of the two colors you have with the stitch you will be using. You might be surprised at the end result. Enjoy.