Loom Knitting Color Series, Simple Color Changes

Hello loom knitters and welcome to our color series! 

Color is affects our mood, inspires us and makes us feel more creative!
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This is the first in a series of blog posts and accompanying videos discussing different methods of using color in your loom knitting. Check back for future articles or subscribe to our mailing list to be the first notified of the new posts in this series. This post is a beginners guide to simple or easy colorwork covering variegated and self-striping yarns, color pooling, stripes (horizontal and vertical), and large vertical blocks of color. 

The series will include

  • Topic 1: Beginners! Simple Colorwork on the loom including, self-striping, variegated yarn, stripes and color changes, vertical and horizontal colorwork
  • Topic 2:  How to fix the jog when knitting stripes.
  • Topic 3:  Fair Isle loom knitting
  • Topic 4:  Intarsia on the loom
  • Topic 5:  Mosaic & Skip/slip Stitch Loom Knitting
  • Topic 6:  Finding color inspiration
  • All the topics will include video links where applicable.
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Topic 1: Simple Colorwork on the loom including vertical and horizontal colorwork

color pooling, stripes, simple color changes, loom knitting, using variegated yarn
The variegated yarn in this project is an example of a self-striping yarn with long color changes.

Variegated and self-striping yarns

  • No color changes necessary, the yarn does all the work.
  • This does not mean you can not control the look of the color changes. Below are some ways to change it up.
    • Vary your sts:  Changing the stitch can greatly affect how your color changes look. Experiment with skip/slip sts, knits, and purls on a swatch and see how it affects the look of your work.
    • Color Pooling:  You can measure the color changes of your yarn and cause color pooling for really interesting, modern effects. Here is a nice guide for color pooling:  Color pooling guide.  Here is a color pooling calculator:  Calculator
    • Long/short color changes:  Choose yarns for short or long color changes. The picture of the baby dress above shows a variegated yarn with long color changes. Yarn that looks mottled or blended has very short color changes. You can plan your project with this in mind.
    • Combine colors:  Use a solid and a variegated yarn for interesting designs.
This is an example of intentional striping. This yoga legwarmer pattern can be found here:  Get the pattern!

Simple stripes (horizontal colorwork)

When you want to change the color of your yarn for stripes, how do you do it?

  • Leave a 4-inch tail, hold it firmly and beginning knitting with the new yarn color. It's as simple as that!
  • You do not need to knot it to any other yarn you are working with. Knots leave uncomfortable/unsightly bumps in your knitting and can come undone later.
  • You will weave the tails into your knitting later. This will secure your ends and keep them from unraveling.
  • If you are changing color often (under 5 rows): You may run the unused color inside the knitting of a hat or other garment/project where it will be hidden, occasionally catching it at the end of a row by laying the non-working yarn on top of the working yarn. This is not desirable if the backside of the knitting will be seen as it can be unsightly. Do a swatch if you are not sure.

When making stripes, how do I make a clean color change?

Help, I'm getting a "blip" or running thread/ladder across my knitting when I'm changing colors. First, let me say, this "blip" always occurs in knitting when doing stockinette/purl stitches. The only thing we can control is where the "blip" shows up. On the front/public side or back of our knitting.

As you see in the above illustration, stockinette has both a "head" to the stitch and a running thread at the bottom of the "V" formed in stockinette.

If you want a clean color change as in this example, you must change color on a knit row.

If you want the "blip to show on the public side, change color on a purl or ribbing row.

How do I control which side the "blip" shows up on?

  • If you want a "clean" color change. Always change color on a knit row. It is acceptable to add a knit row within ribbing also if you would like a clean color change in a ribbed portion. It will barely be noticeable and I do this often in my patterns.
  • If you want the "blip" to show up on the right/public side, change color on a purl or ribbing row.

How do I make vertical stripes in my loom knitting?

This depends on whether your stripes will be close together or far apart in large blocks.

Repetitive (vertical) striping

  • Skip every other peg by putting the yarn in back of the peg to do 1 x 1 stripes as seen in the picture below. The alternate pegs (or skipped pegs) are worked in another color. Here's a secret...this is also your most basic Fair Isle pattern, not so hard right?! Here's an example on the brim of our Snowman Hat 

  • Make wider 2 x 2 vertical stripes by skipping 2 pegs with the yarn in back (wyib) of the pegs. See the chart below. Work 2 sts in color A and 2 sts in color B, always skipping necessary pegs with the yarn behind the pegs. It is not recommended to skip more than 2 pegs without catching the yarn (that will be explained in topic 2, Fair Isle).

  • There is no need to twist your yarn together or lock it in with the two examples above. The yarn will float along the back of your knitting and automatically be secured as you knit. Larger gauge looms will produce bigger "floats" than a smaller gauge loom so keep that in mind when making baby items as little fingers can get caught in the knitting.
The ears on the rabbit hat are an example of vertical blocks of color.

How do I make large, vertical, solid areas of color?

  • Referring to the chart below. You would knit the indicated number of sts in color A, then knit the indicated number of sts in color B. Next twist the two colors together 1 time. You must twist the colors together (every time they meet) to prevent making two separate sections of knitting. Twisting locks the two colors together and makes a seamless join as you work. Vertical Color Video/Twisting Your Colors Together
  • The ears of the bunny, in the pattern pictured above, shows this technique.

Note:  You may make your blocks of color any width, using any number of sts, the above is just an example. You can also do as many blocks as you would like.

I hope you are enjoying this series so far and it inspires you to add more color to your loom knitting. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions. Have a great day!


Sharon Young said...

On horizontal changes in color, with long running color, how do I make sure the dotted line on one side is always on the back? Is there any way to not have the dotted line of the secondary color?

Nicole F. Cox said...

Hello Sharon, thank you so much for this question! I will update the blog post to answer it. It's great getting feedback so I can make my posts more helpful and complete. To give a quick answer to your question, to not end up with a "blip" in your knitting when doing a color change, you must always change color on a knit row. The "blip" will then occur on the back side of your work. If you change color on a purl row you will get a "blip"/running thread of the new color on the right side of your work. Neither is right or wrong, and a "blip" can be a nice effect but not when you want a "clean" color change. Hope this helps and I will add a section to the above blog post to help answer your question.

Nicole F. Cox said...

The post has been updated to address the above question. Thanks for the suggestion Sharon, this will help a lot of loom knitters!-Nicole

Carin I. said...

Thank you

Tami C. said...

This is going to be an excellent series! Ever since I started double knitting images, using intarsia & fair isle in my projects, I have gotten so many questions on how to do to follow a chart, etc. This will be a big help to those that are having difficulties understanding it, so thank you very much for taking the time to do this <3 Hugs <3

Ellen Blakley said...

Thank You can't wait to try this..

Catherine Paton said...


Veronica C. Stone said...

I really want to try fair isle but there has got to be some better videos out there..I need like a beginning to end type of thing because I am completely lost with this!! That being said, this is gorgeous and I want to make it. :)

Michelle G said...

I am still a beginner loom knitter, ty so much for all of your tips and tricks!

donna said...

What makes your loom knitting stand out to me is the neatness of your cast on edge. Mine are always loose and sloppy no matter what loom I use. Is there a special trick for producing a neat and tidy cast on? I shy away from loom knitting just for this reason. I have invested in a lot of looms and would really like to make use of them...especially for colorwork.

Nicole F. Cox said...

Thank you donna! I use the chain cast on almost exclusively because it produces a very neat cast on that doesn't require tightening later. This cast on does take a little practice as some people have trouble with their stitches tightening. This shouldn't happen if you are using the right size crochet hook and pulling on your knitting to set your stitches.

If you go under the learn tab at the top of this page there is a glossary which will lead you to a video on this cast on method. The true chain Cast on is another one I use also but the chain CO never seems to fail me.

Dana Klinkner said...

I love this color series post- full of so much helpful information! I’m fairly new to loom knitting but have been a long time crocheted. I’ve alwats wanted to knit but no matter how I try knitting with needles confounds me. But I’m in love with loom knitting!!! Thank you for this post- soooo informative & helpful!

Katie said...

I’m trying to make a baby blanket that is a skull and crossbones/Jolly Roger and am trying to figure out how to transition the black and white into the image without making it look sloppy, thanks for the tutorials!

Nicole F. Cox said...

Hi Katie! I hope this post helped you with your project. If not I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have. You're welcome!

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