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Have you heard of “Planned Pooling”? I had never of such a thing before until this past fall. Planned pooling is working with variegated yarn that has a repetitive predictable color sequence to create a specific pattern when crocheted or knitted. Sounds complicated doesn’t it? Well don’t be intimidated, it really isn’t hard! The stitches used are deceptively simple, the only tricky part is finding the “magic number”! I’ll get to that in a minute when I show you how to make a Rainbow Scarf. Let me show you a few things first!
Here is an example of what I mean by variegated yarn:
Isn’t it beautiful? This Lion Brand Color Waves in the Rainbow colorway is the yarn I used for this project I’m about to show you. I just love the bright and vibrant colors of it! Let me just gush about this yarn for a few minutes – I am really in love with it! I am a pretty die hard cotton yarn fan, and usually avoid wool (too scratchy!) at all costs, but this yarn really won me over! It’s an acrylic/wool blend (80/20%) and it is so soft that I actually had no idea at first that it contained wool! I can’t stand most wool touching my skin, but I wear this scarf all the time and it feels amazing.
Now it’s hard to imagine, but when you follow the pattern, this bundle of bright softness will turn into this gorgeous argyle-style scarf:
Now in the past, before I discovered planned pooling, I would try using variegated yarn and I would always be disappointed in the outcome. It would end up as randomly distributed colors with no rhyme or reason. Even if I liked the combination of colors, it was just a jumbled blob of colors. My sense of organization and neatness was deeply offended by this chaos!
Enter Planned Pooling! I had no idea that this was kind of the whole point behind variegated yarn! Why don’t they put this on the label for heaven’s sake??? I immediately went out and bought a whole pile of variegated yarn and got to work. After a couple of evenings of playing around, I realized – not all variegated yarn will work with this technique! As I mentioned, the yarn must have a predictable, repetitive color sequence, but in addition the color segments need to be long enough to form a pattern in the stitches. Short choppy sections of color won’t allow the color to show a pattern as it moves through the piece.
Today I’m going to give you a pattern for my Rainbow Scarf because I was lucky enough to discover that the Lion Brand Color Waves Rainbow yarn DOES pool, and the color pattern is just delicious! When people see the pattern you create, they will be amazed because it looks so complicated – but they have no idea that is uses only simply beginner crochet stitches! The stitch pattern is actually the moss stitch, exactly like I showed you in my Moss Stitch Washcloth pattern. The moss stitch is one of the easiest stitches to use in creating planned pooling projects. I will give you a word of warning however, this project depends HIGHLY on maintaining an even, consistent tension in your stitches. You may have to rip out a few stitches and adjust your tension higher or lower to ensure the color falls in the right spot. Notice in the photo below where I have placed the arrows – the stitches that are directly below (meaning every OTHER row) must go over by one stitch each time in the color:
See how the purple is progressing by only one stitch each time in every other row? That’s the magic!
Make sure you read on below the pattern, because I will share a list of other yarns and color ways that I have PERSONALLY tested and found the “magic formula” to create a planned pooling effect.
Rainbow Scarf – FREE Crochet Pattern using Planned Pooling
Skill level: beginner
Size: one size
ch – chain
ch space – chain space
sc – single crochet
Row 1: sc in the 4th ch from the hook, *ch 1, skip the next ch, sc in the next ch; repeat from * until 2 ch remain, skip the next ch, sc in the last ch, turn. (21)
Row 2: Ch 2, sc in first ch space, *ch 1, skip the next st, sc in the next ch space; repeat until 2 st remains, ch 1, skip next st and sc into the last ch space, turn. (21)
Repeat row 2 until you reach your desired length, or you run out of yarn! Finish off and weave in ends.
Easy right?!? I hope you love this gorgeous bright scarf as much as I love mine! If you’re interested in creating more planned pooling projects, here is a list I’ve created of other variegated yarns I have tried and gotten to work. The trick is to find the correct hook size and starting chain length that produces the pattern!
Don’t get discouraged if you are having trouble making your planned pooling Rainbow Scarf – this technique depends so much on your tension that you may need to adjust your tension, hook size or yarn – or even all three! If you’re struggling, here are several excellent resources on Planned Pooling that I have used and found very helpful:
Facebook group Planned Pooling with Crochet – join this group for an extensive list of yarns that pool and for lots of support!
A calculator page where you can predict the patterns of variegated yarns Planned Pooling
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