Will it blend? Scrap-blending techniques

Will it blend? Scrap-blending techniques

For me this year is all about learning new techniques. And as I really love working with scraps of yarn and use everything to the last millimetre, I have been busy collecting and testing new (for me) techniques of blending.

Most designs I see on *Hot right now* use one or the other technique of blending/fading/overlapping colours into one another. And if you look at the prices… I might as well just knit. It really isn’t that difficult. Take your choice of pattern, shawl, sweater, mittens, socks… (any solid coloured pattern would do, I promise!), add favourite colours, scraps or hand dyed designer yarns and mix on! Wow. You just saved a million bucks on mainstream and created your own unique piece of art in the progress 😛

Here is a a small collection of ideas and techniques for blending your yarns.

First off, some people like to get their things organized (Don’t know why, but, oh… well.) If you are working with leftovers, you might want to sort them according to colour and/or weight.

If you don’t feel lucky like I do and don’t want to leave everything to chance, you could make a yarn cake out of leftovers.

There are a few techniques on how to join the yarn:

You could either make a double knot (see video here – from 1:12) to join the old yarn with the next or use the russian join (I would spent hours winding and threading, but I feel like that’s too much work for me….See also my post about 20 Free patterns for leftover projects) or any kind of method you like and wind the whole thing into a ball. Then knit! 🙂

Mumpitz Design blog
Scrappy yarn cake

Or you throw everything into a bowl and grab one ball after the next to keep things interesting and flexible. That’s my favourite chaotic way of letting creativity flow 🙂

Mumpitz Design Blog
Stash buster spiral/blender socks

Let’s start with the easy methods. Like these. I used 6 different scraps of Opal sock yarn for this pair of happy scrappy socks (no pattern – use your standard go-to pattern or this free one). 

Mumpitz Design blog
Scrappy socks – change colour as you reach the other thread’s end

As I was too lazy to sort them beforehand and also the yarns in itself made quite a show with their colour changes, I decided to go with this technique:

Knit with colour A. When it is about to run out, add colour B, knit both strands for 6-7 stitches and continue knitting with colour B only. Repeat as often as you like. It even saves you the weaving in of ends. (Told you, I’m lazy!)

Or how about this one? Bold stripes (shown on Coziness finerless mittens):

Stripes! Two gradient yarns, change colour every 4th round

You can use any yarn, but I like this best on gradient yarns like Zauberball from Schoppewolle or similar. Use two contrasting scraps (about 15-20grams per colour and per pair of mittens) and knit stripes, changing colour every 4th (3rd or 7th, as you like!) round. Voila! A unique pair of whatyouknitted!

The next one I learned recently from a fellow knitter on Instagram, @Terhimontonen (oh my goodness, I just LOVE her pictures! You should definitely follow her!) and I thought I’d share it with you, too:

Mumpitz Design blog
Scrap happy socks are the best!

Cast on any even number of stitches

Rd1 Colour A

Rd2 Colour B

Rd3 Colour A

Rd4 Colour B

Rd5+6 k1 Colour A, k1 Colour B around

Repeat these 6 rounds until finished 🙂

I added a German Short Row heel (See tutorial here)  and cuff and toes in colour A only, but there’s definitely a million different solutions. Tell me your favourite when you find it!

There are some well established patterns on Ravelry that are free and fun, like the blender socks by Heather Sebastian, or Stashbuster Spirals by Sharon Gerstman

These are really about joining a new colour at different points in a row/round to avoid a visible joining side in a project. When I’m blending socks, I don’t bother following a specific pattern, rather than joining a new colour once I feel like it 🙂 But you could go like this:

Knit 2 in one colour, 1 round in another colour, 1 round in a third colour, 2 rounds in the first colour, 3 rounds in the second colour, 1 round in the third… it keeps things interesting and makes for the coolest colourful projects! I must admit, though, that I never use more than two colours at a time as I don’t want to spend half of the time untangling the yarn strands.

Mumpitz Design blog
Blender Socks by Heather Sebastian

Or how about Intarsia? If you have some colourful scraps or yarns that don’t quite fit a bigger project on their own, why not mix them with a solid colour and make a special pair of socks/mittens/sweaters… out of it? There are so many wonderful charts for small intarsia out there that it’s hard to choose from. But here’s a pick of free intarsia charts on Ravelry for you.

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Intarsia mitts I made in 2015

I know that this free Totoro Chart by Brella went straight into my queue for a special someone’s Christmas gift 🙂

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Totoro chart

Oh, and then there is your pick of anything Fade. Apparently you’ll need plenty of these for a project, so it’ll be worth a month of knitting at least. But here you go.

It could for example work like this: Start with color 1, knit in stockinette (or garter if you prefer) for say 20 rows/rounds (depending on size and intended blending effect) change to colour 2, knit 1-2 rows/rounds, change back to colour 1, knit slightly less rows/rounds than the first time, change back to colour 2, knit slightly more rows/rounds than the last time and so on, until you feel like it’s time for adding the next colour to the game. Repeat in the same fashion until you finish your project. You successfully faded your favourite colours into each other.

win sock yarn
Mumpitz Sock yarns

Or how about using two contrasting gradients, knit with both strands and see where they take you? I used one gradient from green to purple and one from yellow to blue for this Dragon Hat

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Dragon hat – from several tiny scraps, aranged and faded by colour

Another method of fading is this Fade in Fade out socken (Free pattern) 

Start with stranding: always alternate 1 st. of each two colors (A and B) over an odd (divisible by 4 +1) number of stitches. Knit 4 rows of stranding. Break Col A. Now knit 4 plain rows using color B. Adding color C knit 4 rows of stranding. Cut B, knit 4 plain rows in C. And so forth.

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Fade in Fade out by Christiane Eichler

And if you haven’t found enough inspiration here yet, I’m sure to keep an eye open for more inspiration for you. But for now I’m off knitting, as I expect a beautiful package to arrive soon, so my needles need to be ready to go then!

Read also my post about Of Scraps and Happy Elephants here

Happy knitting!

12 thoughts on “Will it blend? Scrap-blending techniques

  1. What a great post! I’ve never really been into the sock knitting – heck, no one sees them inside your shoes but with these everyone will want to take their shoes off to show the socks. Every blend technique you show looks brilliant especially with those brilliant colors. And the hat! I have that pattern favorited and now I know how to choose the yarn.
    Thanks for putting this together!

    1. Thank you! I’m really glad it inspires you. Socks are so addictive!! And I love collecting scraps just for these 🙂 Hope to see some of your creations soon then!

  2. Ein ganz toller Beitrag mit neuen Inspirationen. Restesocken sind wirklich süchtig machend da man nie weiß wie das Endergebnis aussieht 😊
    Kennst du die „ dither“ Socken auf ravelry schon? Die Anleitung ist frei und für Reste geeignet 😍

    1. Vielen Dank! Ich freue mich, dass du etwas Inspiration finden konntest! Und danke auch für den Tip, die Socken werde ich mir mal genauer ansehen! Ich muss ja noch 21 Paar schaffen bis Dezember 🙂

  3. Hello Mrs Mumpitz,
    Lovely ideas! I couldn’t quite follow the instructions for Rnd 5 + 6 from the Instagram socks. It says “k1 Colour A, k1 and B around”.
    I think there might be a word wrong/missing?
    Cheers, Sarah

    1. hej! Thank you for the heads up, indeed, it needs to read k1 Colour A, k1 Colour B around! I updated it and hope to see your lovely socks soon!!

    1. I’m glad you like the ideas and bravo to being zero waste! I love the concept and wish we had a chance here in Sweden, to, but there are no bulk stores or such, so it’s really hard not to drown in packaging everywhere you go 🙁 I love your range of products and hope to be able to support you soon, too.

  4. Thank you ! Perfect timing. I’m one of the “sort by color family” people, ready to start a scrap yarn mosaic crochet afghan. Had been fighting the thought of a thousand tiny knots. Your post gave me new ideas. I had been experimenting as I come toward the end of one color, fold 1st color over the 2nd (forming an interlocking sideways “U” shape with each color’s 3” tail turning back towards itself, then crocheting together tail+ It’s own color, join, tail + second color. Makes a clean color change. After reading your article I will use your “work two ends as one” for my mosaic: background lights-to-darks blended…mosaic pattern frequent random color changes.

    1. That’s a great idea, too! I’m happy I could inspire you to try a different technique, please let me know how it goes for you! I feel it also depends on what kind of yarn you use, if it’s very slippery I wouldn’t recommend the two strand version, but for anything else it works like a charm! And it saves a lot of terror :))

  5. Hello, can you please tell me the name of the lovely multi coloured yarn ..l do not know where to buy it ,
    It’s so beautiful l can,t wait to use it .
    Many thanks in advance.Betty.

    1. Hi Betty, Which yarn are you referring to? There is a wide range of different brands that I used in this post, my favourite yarns are hand dyed ones, but you can aso try Opal, Regia or any other brand that dyes multi-coloured yarns. I could never walk past any of Opal yarns colourways, but any scraps you have will make a lovely, multi-coloured project once you start blending them.

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