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How to knit with self-striping yarn

by Michelle Nussey

You might remember I mentioned in my earlier post the newest addition to Red Heart’s With Love family is With Love Stripes. For anyone who has not knit with a self-striping yarn before, you’re in for a real treat. The yarn is dyed in predetermined lengths that knit up into a stripe pattern. That’s right, there’s no color changing, no weaving ends in and out, just colored stripes!

The beautiful blue, purple, cream, and grey swatch of With Love Stripes. Displaying how the yarn will stripe when you knit with it.

With Love Stripes in the color Baroque Stripes. This is what your swatch will look like.

This is the ultimate technique to make your knitting look more complex than it is. You can just knit in stockinette stitch and the colors change for you. My biggest enemy for stripe patterns was counting rows. I’d always forget to make a tick mark or click my row counter and be hopelessly lost. I’d have to set everything down and go back counting my rows. I did get practice reading my knitting, but it took forever. No more! Just sit and knit With Love Stripes.

With Love Stripes is the new addition to the Red Heart family. Get ready to start knitting with stripes this summer.

This new yarn is a game changer for your knitting. Stripes everywhere!

There are a few things to be aware of when you’re knitting with self-striping yarns. The stripe length. This type of yarn is dyed with an optimal amount of stitches to cast on. This will make sure your stripes are not too chunky or too thin. With Love Stripes are 324” in length, that is a whole 27’. While you may think this is an astounding amount of yarn to work with for each stripe, it tends to go faster than you think. Especially if you’re knitting something like a baby blanket.

Tips and tricks to knitting with Red Heart's new With Love Stripes. Know the length of your stripe. It goes a long way to tell you how your garment is going to turn out.

When measuring your color transitions, if you know all the colors are the same length then you only have to measure one. From the swatch on the Red Heart website, we know all the stripes are the same length.

An important thing to remember when you’re knitting with self-striping yarn is the number of stitches always counts!

Imagine if you’re knitting a sweater in the round. You knit the body in the round with 200 stitches, then you start your sleeves which are 50 stitches. If your stripes on the body of the sweater are 3 rows each, on the sleeve they’re going to be closer to 12 rows each. You’ll have very thick stripes on the arms and skinny stripes on the body. If that’s the look you’re going for, then fine, but it’s best to carefully plan your projects to avoid surprises like these. If you’re determined to start a sweater and don’t want to do the math or the color work, then I would suggest a contrasting color to cover any decreases or circumference difference.

How to knit with Red Heart's new With Love Stripes. The colors will change very suddenly and you will keep knitting on your way. No weaving in ends, or splicing in another yarn.

A picture of the color transition. This is not a gradual change in color, it will happen from one stitch to the next.

The same applies with a hat, if you’re knitting a self-striping hat in the round, as you decrease closer to the crown the stripes will get larger. I’m going to look over a hat pattern on Friday and use With Love Stripes to knit it. Make sure to watch out for that article!

Knowing how your self-striping yarn will turn out before you start you project can be a real life-saver. With Love Stripes showing the difference between knitting with 20 stitches and knitting with 40 stitches.

The swatch on the left was knit with 20 stitches while the swatch on the right was knit with 40. You can see how drastically the stripe changes with only a matter of 20 stitches.

The best project I can suggest, if this is your first foray into With Love Stripes is this scarf pattern. The Chevron Scarf is an easy knit that will give you a feel for the stripes and how much yarn you need for a whole stripe. If you’re not a fan of the chevrons and just want a straight striped scarf, leave out the increases and decreases that create the chevron pattern!

Red Heart's free Chevron Scarf pattern, knitted from With Love Stripes in the color Baroque Stripe. The perfect beginning pattern into color-changing yarns.

Red Heart’s Chevron Scarf Pattern photo knitted with With Love Stripes in Baroque Stripe.

Needless to say, I’m totally smitten with With Love Stripes. Yarns that self-stripe are one of my favorite things! There are so many things you can do with them and they add a lot of interest to your knitting. Not to mention they add texture to your garment construction knowledge base. Join me tomorrow for more knitting fun With Love Stripes.

This is part 1 of 2 in this series.



Marlene Davis June 24, 2020 - 11:02 am

I’m making a sweater with Noro stripped yarn. How do I change colors? Do I cut the old color, then
start the new color?

Jenni September 8, 2018 - 4:28 pm

Will self striping wool work if I knit in the round rather than using 2 needles?

Michelle Nguyen September 9, 2018 - 2:05 pm

Yes Jenni, it absolutely will! I wouldn’t knit anything with a circumference too large or your stripes will be very thin, but the general principle is the same when knitting in the round vs knitting flat.

Barb R. September 24, 2017 - 6:13 pm

Do you have some tips for knitting with the Red Hart self striping yarn? Such as the best way to cast on and how to make sure the stripes are pretty even from one edge to the other. I have the yArn to make the Red Heart self-striping baby blanket, but now I’m worried what is he best way to cast on and that the stripes are good. Thanks for any advice you can share with me.

Michelle Nguyen October 6, 2017 - 8:57 am

Hello Barb! It would help me to know what kind of self- striping yarn you have (Red Heart has a lot of selection). I can definitely answer in terms of casting on though. For your cast on, you can use whatever is your favorite! The cast on itself will not affect your stripes unless you’re using something that requires a lot more yarn, such as the German twisted cast on.

The self-striping yarn will assure your stripes are all the same, unless they’re advertised as being different widths. That is the beauty of self-striping yarn, it does all the work for you. As for making a baby blanket with self-striping yarn, you’re going to want a long color repeat. This will ensure you’re able to reach both sides of the blanket with your stripes. With Love Stripes actually has a baby blanket pattern on the Red Heart website, so it will definitely knit into a lovely blanket (and you can see how the stripes will turn out). There is a knit much post about it, here.

Marianne August 26, 2017 - 8:53 am

Im knitting a circular scarf with 2 color self striping yarn. When it changes color it leaves a step bet last color. How can i avoid this.

Michelle Nguyen September 26, 2017 - 8:31 pm

Hello Marianne! I’m glad to hear you’re having fun with self striping yarn! If you are looking for a less noticeable change in your stripes, I would mark the stitches that are the ‘edges’ of your scarf. When you are getting close to a color change and the edge of the scarf, be prepared to cut the extra left of the color you’re currently working on and start your next color a couple stitches early. This way all the color changes will line up along the edge of your scarf and not be visible.

This could also be the type of self striping yarn you’re using. Some have a gradient between stripes, others have a more sudden change. If you want a smoother transition between stripes, I would perhaps look at a gradient striping yarn.

Pam June 5, 2017 - 7:59 am

Can I successfully crochet with the striped yarn? Where can I purchase it. I have been unsuccessful to locate Red Heart Ombré to crochet an affgan for a gift. I want to avoid shippimg charges.

Carla A. Canonico June 5, 2017 - 11:45 am

Pam, you can usually find Red Heart Yarns at Michaels, WalMart. Have you looked there?


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