- Characteristics: multiple colors (usually 3 or more), often in sequence (meaning the colors are repeated in the same sequence as you knit with the yarn) in high-contrast color combinations.
- Pros: Saturated, vibrant color with a one-of-a-kind look.
- Challenges: As your project changes size or shape, the colors "line up" differently over the rows - and if too many rows of the same color stack up together, you get pooling or unwanted striping.
- Other variegated favorites: Baah Yarns, Malabrigo Yarn
- Characteristics: yarns have a more tonal variation, with multiple shades of the same or similar colors blending together in the yarn
- Pros: easy on the eye; "watercolor" effect adds visual interest without being overwhelming
- Challenges: each skein is unique, so there can be much variation between skeins of the same colorway
- Other tonal favorites: Unraveled Designs Yarn, Swans Island
- Characteristics: dye is applied by hand, so each skein has subtle variations; the dyer completely controls color application and can create truly unique combinations and effects
- Pros: instantly recognizable as hand-crafted; very artistic look
- Challenges: larger projects can be difficult due to variation between skeins
- Other hand-painted favorites: Blue Heron Yarns, Misti Alpaca
- Characteristics: a soft-blend effect between multiple colors of yarn on the same skein, achieved by adding different-colored dyes to the dye pot at the same time
- Pros: even high-contrast colors are able to intermingle beautifully for a unified effect
- Challenges: colors are placed at irregular intervals on the skein, so it can be difficult to tell exactly what it will look like when knit up
- Other kettle-dyed favorites: Manos del Uruguay, The Fibre Company
- Characteristics: yarn is dyed in very long color runs, so your knitted project has color shifts that gradually blend from one to the next
- Pros: you can create gorgeous, ombre-effect knitting without switching between skeins of different colors
- Challenges: choosing the right project to show off this uniquely-dyed yarn
- Long-striping favorites: Vice Blurred Lines and Freia Fine Handpaints