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Colorblocking Clothes in Crochet: How to Change Colors

Updated on October 12, 2017
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My favorite hobby is to crochet doll clothes. Using what I've learned from reading existing patterns, I create my own designs for Barbie.

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The colorblocking trend has been around for quite some time. As I was browsing through Ravelry one day, I saw this colorblocked dress in the forums made by watbetty. While I hadn't had enough experience then, I have since made my own Colorblocked Panel Sheath Dress.

This article is a tutorial on how to do colorblocking by carrying the colors not in use at the wrong side of the work and introducing new colors only when it starts in the pattern. Included are some pictures on how to do it.

Jacquard (or Tapestry) Crochet

Jacquard (or Tapestry) crochet is just like regular crochet, only it involves having more than one yarn being carried at the back while one color is being used. Patterns for this kind of crochet are usually drawn in grid charts with each color represented by a color or a symbol filling in the square.

If you are right-handed, you read the chart from the bottom right corner, working your way across to the left side. If you are left-handed, do the opposite and start from the bottom left corner, working your way across to the right side.

Different Ways of Introducing New Color

When you want to change colors, you just do the normal stitch, but stop at the last part of the stitch and add the new color. For example, if you want to change colors at the end of a single crochet, do the normal stitch until you reach the final yarn over before drawing up all loops. Introduce the new color then, by yarning it over the hook and then pulling it through both loops on the hook.

  1. Adding the color when you need it and fastening it off when you change to the next color. This method will have no threads hanging at the wrong side because you can just work over the loose threads or weave in the ends to hide it. But this will be tedious because of all the weaving in you need to do once the project is done. However, this method is sometimes necessary when the next section for the color is too far away from the current stitch. If you do not fasten off, the thread hanging at the wrong side will be long and might snag during handling.
  2. Adding the color when you need it and pulling it up again when necessary.The main advantage of this is to conserve yarn and to reduce the ends in the project. The bad thing is, the wrong side of the work will have many hanging threads from where you pulled up the color for the next section. If you can keep the wrong side from showing, this is a good method. Also, if the colors are close together, it will save you the trouble of weaving in ends and fastening off every time you change color.
  3. Beginning the second color from the very start. This method involves crocheting over the second color right from the beginning stitch over the starting chain. This is done to make sure the gauge is consistent throughout the work. But, some of the secondary color will show from the very beginning. There is a tutorial for this in About.com if you are interested. The disadvantage of this is you need more thread than usual and will make the project heavier.

How to Change Colors

I will be showing the second method in this hub because a) I am using thread, so the gauge would not change so much compared to using yarn; and b) I am merely showing how to change colors while doing vertical stripes, so the hanging threads at the back is minimal as the colors are just continuously going up.

  • Start the chain with the lightest color you plan to use. In this case, I used a light yellow. Start the stitches with the same color until you reach the point where you want to change the color.
  • When you reach the last stitch of the current color, before you do the final yarn over and pulling through all loops, insert the new color as shown in the picture below. This new color will be the thread you will yarn over and pulling through all hooks.

Have the new color ready to pull through the final stitch of the previous color. Place the old color on the wrong side of the work so it will not show in the end.
Have the new color ready to pull through the final stitch of the previous color. Place the old color on the wrong side of the work so it will not show in the end. | Source
This is how it will look once you pull the new color through. From this point on, grab the new color as the working thread and continue the stitches while the old thread is hanging at the back.
This is how it will look once you pull the new color through. From this point on, grab the new color as the working thread and continue the stitches while the old thread is hanging at the back. | Source
  • As you can see from the photo above, there are three floating threads. Take the first color and make sure you put it at the back (the wrong side of the work). Continue with the pattern, making sure that you stitch over the end of the new color to hide it.
  • In order to make blocks, you have to continue using the same colors for the next rows. Always make sure that the threads are hanging at the wrong side of the work. When you need to change colors, just pull up the one you need and put aside the current color.
  • Just continue the pattern in rows until you reach the desired length of the stripes.

This is how it looks like with three different colors for the first row.
This is how it looks like with three different colors for the first row. | Source
Time to change colors! Just before the last stitch of the previous color is completed, yarn over with the new color and pull through all the final loops.
Time to change colors! Just before the last stitch of the previous color is completed, yarn over with the new color and pull through all the final loops.
This is how it looks when you change colors in the middle of a row. The previous color is now down while the current color is up and ready to yarn over for the next stitch.
This is how it looks when you change colors in the middle of a row. The previous color is now down while the current color is up and ready to yarn over for the next stitch.

How to Incorporate Colorblocking in Designs

You can do stripes, checkerboard patterns, designs in the middle of the project, etc. Just be creative and try colorblocking your favorite patterns.

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    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 5 years ago

      I want a me size version of that barbie dress!! Excellent explanation of color blocking and changing colors mid work. ^_^ Voted up and useful!

    • Heather Says profile image

      Heather Rode 5 years ago from Buckeye, Arizona

      That colorful dress is so stylish compared to most Barbie doll clothes I've seen lately. I absolutely love it. Another great article :)

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image

      Melissa Flagg OSC 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      FANTASTIC!! I've been wanting to try colorblocking, but honestly, I've been a bit too afraid to try it. It seemd like it would be really difficult, but your pictures have made it look so easy that I can't wait to try it!! Thank you so much for this hub. I even bookmarked it for future reference! Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting and shared!!