Crochet Tips and Techniques!Changing Colors In Crochet
by Janet Rehfeldt
Usually when crocheting a motif or design in crochet you normally follow a graph. You change colors of yarn or thread according to the graph. In crochet the instructions for changing colors are the same whether you are using a single crochet, double crochet or triple crochet. You always work the last two loops on the hook off with the new color.
For single crochet, pull up the first loop for a single crochet in the current color you are using, then pull or draw the new color through the last two loops on the hook to complete the single crochet.
In following your chart, you would work your first color to the stitch prior to [or] just in front of the next color. This is the stitch you work off the last two loops with the new color. In the chart below you would crochet one row in blue. We will consider this the wrong side of the work. On the 2nd row, reading from the the right to left, you would crochet 14 single crochets in blue, finishing off the last two loops on the hook with purple. You would work 2 purple single crochets, finishing off the stitch with blue, work 6 blue single crochets. Row 3 is read from left to right. You would crochet 5 stitches in blue, working the last two loops of the 5th stitch off in purple, crochet 4 purple stitches, working the last two loops of the 4th stitch off the hook in blue and so on. You continue to change colors according to the below graph.
Sometimes you will be only have one or two stitches before having to change colors again. You can carry your unused yarn behind your work on the wrong side of the work, making sure that you carry it loosely so that your work doesn't pucker.
Another method is to crochet over the unused yarn as you work while carrying the unused yarn along the wrong side of the work. This hides the strands of unused yarn and neatens the work so you don't have long strands of yarn on the wrong side of your work. As long as you are not using a dark color behind a light color this works well, but when using a dark color under a light color, it may show through.
When you are working with large areas of one color, like the graph above of my ballet slippers, it's best not to carry your yarn. Work from separate strands of yarn for each of your yarn color changes. You can do this by using yarn bobbins and winding them with the colors. Some people use little plastic bags with the separate yarn placed in them or pieces of cardboard wound with the yarn. Cut a slit in one end of the cardboard and hook the strand of yarn in the slit when not in use.
You should also work with separate strands of yarn when using multiple colors in your pattern. You should not carry multiple strands of color behind your work or it becomes too bulky.
©Janet Rehfeldt 1997 All Rights Reserved.