By no means do I consider myself an expert adviser on the subject of making patterns pop. I’ve made a lot of squares—enough to know that there are no rules, or if there are, they elude me. If I say, “Use high contrast,” along comes a pattern to defy that rule—it’ll show up better in two subtle tints of the same color. (I have such a square in my collection, but can’t readily lay hands on it.) And don’t get me started on “Use complementary colors”—that rarely works.
Because I have too many squares and it’s been waaaay too long since I looked at most of them, I’ve decided to limit my subject today to the topic of using variegated yarn in pattern weaves.
Here are some general guidelines on using variegated yarn:
- Avoid it.
Variegated yarn tends to compete with the pattern. Even though there’s no white in the variegated yarn of the right-hand square above, the bright colors eclipse the cute pattern (house with a heart inside it).
- There are exceptions to this guideline. Variegated yarn that’s very subtle in its colors can make an effective background color.
- A variegated yarn that’s a complementary-color to your main color might make a pleasant contrast.
I could post A LOT of examples of disastrous use of variegated yarn in patterned squares. I’ve made a lot of good examples too. In general, avoid variegated yarn, but if you want to use it, use yarn with subtle color changes and use it in a textured pattern rather than a figured pattern (a figured pattern being something like a tree or a house with a heart in it).
Just to prove my original point—sort of—here’s a patterned square where variegated yarn makes the square (NOT the pattern) absolutely outstanding. (I’m not sure the square would have turned out like this if plain woven.)