What is Heathered Yarn and What Can I Use It For?
You’ve probably heard of heathered yarn but may not know exactly what type of yarn counts as heathered and what doesn’t. Like for many of us, learning about different kinds of yarn can be a whole learning curve; so we’ve decided to write this article to make things easier. Keep reading till the end for some great patterns too!
What is heathered yarn?
Heathered yarn is yarn made either from natural or synthetic fibers – or a blend of the two – that looks like it’s been dyed a solid color but is actually made up of two or more colors that have been blended together.
These heathered yarns seem to have richer color because of this blending of colors. Heathered yarns may also seem to have more texture than the same base yarn that has been colored only one color.
How are heathered yarns made?
Because of the way in which the colors are mixed in heathered yarns, the fiber used in heathered yarn is colored before the yarn is spun. This is different than most solid, semi-solid, and variegated yarns; which are dyed after being spun.
Once the fiber has been colored, the rich color is created through blending by mixing different amounts of different colored yarns together (Roving Crafters shows how this blending of different colored fibers is done by hand).
For example, the KnitPal Charcoal Black heathered yarn has been blended with white to create the mottled effect that is so characteristic of this type of yarn.
What are the pros and cons of heathered yarns?
Heathered Yarns: Pros
Heathered Yarns: Cons
● Heathered yarns hide small imperfections in stitchwork.
● Forms a fabric that can “smooth over a bit of bulging” when you’re wearing a garment made from heathered yarn.
● Can give a plain piece of garter or stockinette the illusion of extra texture.
● Depending on the amount of heathering in the yarn, you could lose stitch definition when you want it to show up.
● It can be difficult to count stitches when crocheting with a dark-colored or heavily heathered yarn.
● Lace knitting patterns may not show up as clearly as with other types of yarn.
● Cables may also not show up as crisp as they would in some non-heathered yarns.
Be sure to watch this video on heathered yarns as well!
Knitting and crochet patterns perfect for heathered yarns
Plum Wine Knitted Cardigan – Designed by Thea Colman (Baby Cocktails), this classic cardigan looks splendid in heathered yarn. Delicate cablework rounds the design off beautifully.
Genuine Pleasure Crochet Shawl – This classic triangular shawl by Red Heart can be worked in your favorite color.
First Lady Knitted Skirt – A beautiful knee-length skirt by DROPS Design that you can dress up or down.
Spring Heather Shawl – A beautiful and beginner-friendly shawl pattern by Annie Design Crochet. Make it in a variety of colors like in the example or choose your favorite heathered color!
Ash Heather Tote / Lopi Tote (Knitted) – Heidi Gustad, who is also known for her macramé and intarsia knitting, designed this tote bag in linen stitch. It’s a free knit pattern, and the pattern itself is easy enough for advanced beginners to knit. Heidi has also included tutorial videos to show how the cast on, grafting, etc. is done (Old Norwegian Sock Cast On, Kitchener stitch, etc.).
Crochet Basket – An easy crochet basket pattern by Jess Coppom; use it to store toys, towels, or your current WIP.
Wandering Wings Crochet Wrap – This beautiful wrap by Amy B Stitched consists of rows of butterfly wings and honeycomb mesh. Make it in white like in the photo or experiment with other colours.