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Oct 8, 2017

Ombres & Gradients: 5 Fresh Ways to Create Your Own

In recent months, we've been exploring ways to create your own custom DIY gradients, ombres and fades. Whether you use purpose-bought yarn or yarn from stash, they're the perfect way to leverage singletons or orphans and put leftovers or odd balls to good use.

Because gradient is a more inclusive term, I tend to use it more often than ombre in these how-to posts. Briefly, here's how I distinguish between the two
Ombre schemes focus on one color family and incorporate varied shades that progress from saturated to pale or dark to light, whether the yarn has been dyed in graduated hues or features colors you've selected for a custom effect.
Gradient schemes, on the other hand, can incorporate shades from any color family, related or radically different. Both simple and complex gradients typically feature a transitional section that blends one color with the next.
In the first overview, Ombres & Gradients: 5 Ways to Create Your Own, we explored strategies ranging from basic to five-stage gradients. Today, let's pick up where we left off and look at five fresh ways to mix yarns to create custom ombre, gradient and fade effects.

(Most of the bold titles below contain two links: Click the gradient link to read more about that technique. Click the project name to learn more about the project shown.)


1. Six-stage gradient: Colsie Plumberry



Strategy: Solid colors are separated by transitional sections consisting of two-row stripes. To achieve a similar look:
  • Choose three colors that play well together. 
  • Arrange them in your preferred sequence.
  • Work section 1 with CC1.
  • Work section 2 with CC1 and CC2.
  • Work section 3 with CC2.
  • Work section 4 with CC2 and CC3.
  • Work section 5 with CC3.
  • Work section 6 with CC3 and CC1.





Strategy:  Solid sections are connected by transitional sections with two-row stripes. To achieve a similar look:
  • Choose four related colors. 
  • Arrange them dark to light or light to dark.
  • Work section 1 with CC1.
  • Work section 2 with CC1 and CC2.
  • Work section 3 with CC2.
  • Work section 4 with CC2 and CC3.
  • Work section 5 with CC3.
  • Work section 6 with CC3 and CC4.
  • Work section 7 with CC4.

3. 9-stage or double-take ombre gradient: WIP swatch

Strategy: Double the number of ombre stages by working a series of solid sections followed by transitional sections featuring alternating two-row stripes. This works with any number of colors, but to achieve a look similar to what's shown:
  • Choose five related colors and arrange them light to dark or dark to light.
  • Work section 1 with CC1.
  • Work section 2 with CC1 and CC2.
  • Work section 3 with CC2.
  • Work section 4 with CC2 and CC3.
  • Work section 5 with CC3.
  • Work section 6 with CC3 and CC4.
  • Work section 7 with CC4.
  • Work section 8 with CC4 and CC5.
  • Work section 9 with CC5.

4. Five-stage mirror gradient: Colsie Mirror Gradient



Strategy: Turn two shades into a five-stage mirrored gradient. To achieve a similar look:
  • Choose two colors. 
  • Work section 1 with CC1 only.
  • Work section 2 with CC1 and CC2.
  • Work section 3 with CC2 only.
  • Work section 4 with CC1 and CC2.
  • Work section 5 with CC1 only.

5. Three-stage variegated gradient: Colsie Berry Tonal Gradient


Strategy:  Each section is worked in alternating two-row stripes. To achieve a similar look:
  • Choose one variegated yarn and three related solid shades that blend with the variegated.
  • Treat the variegated yarn as the MC, because it will appear in each section.
  • Work section 1 with MC and CC1.
  • Work section 2 with MC and CC2.
  • Work section 3 with MC and CC3.Do a mismatched pair: 

Infinitely adaptable and completely customizable, ombres, gradients and fades never become boring, so hopefully, these strategies will inspire you to look at your stash or next yarn acquisition with fresh eyes and a sense of adventure.

Over the years, I've used these techniques in countless projects, and with three gradient projects on the needles as we speak, there's no doubt I'll be using them in many more to come. I hope the same will soon be true for you, too.

To see all ombre and gradient posts, click here.



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