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Quick Guide to Color Changes in Amigurumi

Quick Guide to Color Changes in Amigurumi

If you’re like me, part of the attraction to crochet is all the wonderful colors of yarn you can play with. There’s always that ONE skein that grabs your attention in the store and you end up buying it even though you have no plan and didn’t even go to the store for yarn. Color is a wonderful thing.

However, when it comes to using those colors to create beautiful projects, one problem that often arises is how to use it.

As much as I would love a ball of yarn to exist in every color combination I want and that has perfect color pooling, that just isn’t the case.

That’s where crochet colorwork comes in.

It may sound intimidating or difficult, but I promise, it is just like any other crochet technique. It gets easier with practice and guidance. So let’s dive into this quick guide to color changes in amigurumi.

Quick Guide to Color Changes in Amigurumi

Disclaimer: I specialize in amigurumi, so this article is geared towards color changes as they apply to amigurumi. If you’d like to learn more about colorwork techniques for other types of projects, scroll down to the bottom to check out the other great resources I’ve linked to.

Definitions

  • Tapestry crochet – a technique using 2 or more strands with the unused strands hidden within the stitches created by the working yarn.
  • Fair Isle crochet – a technique using 2 or more strands that involves dropping the working yarn, using a secondary color for one or more stitches, then dropping the secondary and picking up the next color.
    • Floats – the strands of yarn across the back or wrong side of a piece created when switching colors.
  • Intarsia crochet – a technique using 2 or more strands, each connected to their own skein or bobbin and worked separately.
    • Bobbin – a small roll of yarn, often used to separate several colors attached to a project.
    • If you want to try out a project using intarsia, check out this free pattern: Sammie the Turtle

Each of these techniques will have their own blog post soon. For now just keep these definitions in mind.

Color Changing Basics | How to Add a Color

Whether you’re working in the round or flat, the easiest way to change colors is to work your final stitch in the first color as normal and pause before completing it.

Ex. single crochet:

  1. Insert your hook into the next stitch, yarn over and pull up a loop. PAUSE.
change color example for quick guide to color changes in amigurumi
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

2. Grab your new color, yarn over with your new color, and pull through the last two loops.

change color example for quick guide to color changes in amigurumi
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Yup. It’s that easy.

This method works for pretty much any basic stitches such as the half double crochet and double crochet. Just work the stitch as normal until you get to the last two loops, then finish with your new color.

Pro tip: As you continue your project, work over your yarn tails and you’ll have WAY less ends to weave in.

Color Changing Basics | Half Color Changes

This one is gonna seem a little tricky at first, but after some practice, switching back and forth between your colors will be a breeze.

Let’s use our single crochet example again.

  1. Insert your hook into the next stitch, yarn over and pull up a loop. PAUSE.
  2. Grab your new color, yarn over with your new color, and pull through the last two loops.

This is the same process as before for adding a color. Now we’re gonna add another step.

3. Continuing, insert your hook into the next stitch. PAUSE. Pick up your first color, yarn over and pull up a loop.

Then, repeat step 2. Continue repeating steps 2 and 3 until the end of your round or row. If you’d like to see this technique in action, click here.

Color Changing Basics | Things to Remember

General

  • Most kinds of crochet colorwork create a front and back or ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ side of a piece. Knowing which is which can help you keep any loose yarn tails, messy floats, or hidden yarn on the back/wrong side of your piece so the front/right side is nice and clean.
    • Pro tip: if you want to keep track of which side is which, put a marker on one side. You can use a stitch marker, a bobbin pin, or a scrap piece of yarn, but having it on one side will be a great reminder of whether you’re working on the front or back.
  • You don’t have to stick to one technique. If you want to start off with fair isle crochet, floating your yarn back and forth and then decide it’s getting too confusing. Switch to intarsia and keep all your colors neat with bobbins. Mix and match to find the style that not only suits you, but suits the project as well.

Amigurumi Specific

  • When working in the round, especially in continuous rounds, it’s important to know that crochet stitches LEAN. They don’t stack nicely atop one another like in knitting.
    • If you’re creating an image or pattern on your piece, take this lean into account. A symmetrical image might LOOK symmetrical, but the stitches won’t be. Depending on which hand you crochet with, greater or fewer stitches might need to be worked on one side to achieve the clarity of the image.
    • Check out this chart to see what I mean.
example crochet colorwork chart for quick guide to color changes in amigurumi
Chart example by Chanel of cbfiberworks using Stitch Fiddle.
  • Changing colors in the round leaves a distinct seam which can ruin any clean line you’re going for. Check out this great video for how to seamlessly transition your colors.

Quick Links

In case you’re interested in some resources or projects that use these techniques outside of amigurumi, check out these links.

  • Intarsia crochet: Check out E’Claire Makery’s amazing blog and tutorials. She just wrote a book all about intarsia and is the queen of beautiful colorwork.
  • Fair Isle crochet: This video from Yarnspirations has some great beginner tips for fair isle crochet.
  • Tapestry crochet: This is one of my favorite videos for learning the basics of tapestry crochet.

Summary

We’ve defined and seen some example of color changing techniques including tapestry, fair isle, and intarsia. Then we went over 2 different ways to change color.

This article is the first in a series all about playing with color in amigurumi and when the rest of the series is published it will be listed and linked below.

If you enjoyed this article remember to Pin it for later and share it with your friends! Do you have a favorite color changing technique? Leave a comment below and be sure to subscribe to my newsletter if you’re not already. Subscribing ensures that you’re the first to know about updates, exclusive offers, and you get bonus freebies!

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