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Hi everyone! On this Tip Tuesday, I’m going to talk about how to crochet with 2 (or more) colors by stranding the unused color along the back of the work. This is a great technique to use for crocheting vertical stripes, or other patterns where there aren’t many stitches between color changes. Since I know a lot of you are visual learners (and sometimes photos just aren’t enough!), I’ve filmed a video tutorial. Scroll down to see it!
Last week, I received a custom order in my Etsy shop to crochet a zebrafish, a fish with black and white stripes. I used the Wal the Tiny Fish pattern, and instead of crocheting in one color, crocheted black and white stripes.
Since these stripes are vertical (with respect to the direction of crocheting), I needed to change colors every couple of stitches. Now, you can imagine how annoying it would be to cut the yarn and tie a knot every couple of stitches to change yarn… which is why I didn’t do that! Instead, I did something called ‘stranding’, which is carrying the unused color along the back of the work. Stranding is a great technique to use anytime there aren’t more than 4 or so stitches between color changes.
Here’s how it’s done:
Above is what the first half of my little zebra fishie looked like! You can see that there are vertical stripes, with the white stripes 2 stitches wide and the black stripes 3 stitches wide.
Okay, now it’s time for me to change colors (I’m at the end of a black stripe). If you’re unfamiliar with how to change colors cleanly, check out my tutorial on clean color changes. Now that it’s time to use the white yarn, I pick it up (it’s dangling in the back from the last time I used it) and pull it across the back of the work.
Now, using the yarn I just picked up, I’ll begin crocheting with it!
As you can see, when you look at the back of the work, you’ll have lots of little horizontal lines between each color change. Beautiful!
If you’d like to see this in action, check out my video:
As I said, this technique is best for when there aren’t too many stitches between color changes. So, what do you do when there are lots of stitches between changes, like for Nelson the Owl? I show you that in this post about working long color changes in crochet.
When I crochet in the round (I use right hand to hold the hook), my sc stitches always skew to the right. It would shift by 1 whole “position” after several rounds. From your zebrafish photo I can see that you do not have this problem. Could you share the tips of how to avoid skewing? Thank you.
My stitches do skew to the right as well, but just not as much as it sounds like yours do. I just consider it a part of crocheting, and don’t mind too much.
However, one way to avoid this is to work in joined rounds, and turn the work each time. In a joined round, you ch 1 at the start of each row, and turn. This creates skewing in the opposite direction, which will balance the skew to the right out.
I just live with the skew to the right 🙂
Hi Stacy – I’ve tried to watch your color stranding video, but it freezes about 40 seconds in. I’ve tried it on different computers and browsers, and no luck. Is there any way you could repost it? Thanks, and I love you blog!
eep! Sorry about that!
I’ll fix that early this week 🙂
Oh, dear! It seems that I’ve deleted the original recordings… and it’s my file that’s corrupted!
I’m going to need to record a new video… sorry about that!
In the meantime, if you watch from about 2:15 to 4:00, you’ll see some crocheting in action, which should give you a general idea.
If stripes are stranded this close together, is it still necessary to cut and tie them inside? Can I just leave the joined bits (assuming they don’t show through when stuffed)? Thanks!
No, it’s not necessary. In fact, ‘stranding’ is the word that’s used when the yarn is carried across the back and left in the finished piece.
Thanks! Today I know more than I did yesterday; that’s usually a sign of a good day.
I’m trying to watch the video. It’s not on here! And I go to your color change tutorial and it comes up 404 not found! Can you please send me the video or tutorial? Pretty please? I’m stuck on my vertical stripes going wonky instead of straight.
Those links were broken but I’ve fixed them now. 🙂
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