How to Change Colors in Crochet

By Rachel Choi – 120 Comments

If you are new to crochet, here are some tips on how to change colors in your crochet work. The basic idea is to simply let go of the yarn you are currently using and pick up the new yarn that you want to use. Sounds easy enough, right? Let’s explore some examples!

This tutorial is for both right and left handed people. For left handed pictures, roll your mouse over the image and it will change for you.

Changing Colors In a Chain
Suppose you want to change the color in the middle of a chain. Just let go of the color your are using and pick up the new yarn and hold it against your work and start chaining with it.




Changing Colors in Crochet Stitches
Sometimes you may want to change colors after a certain crochet stitch. You change colors the same way, but you do it during the last step of a stitch. Here is an example using single crochet.

Insert your hook into the next stitch (as you normally would)



Yarn over (as you normally would)



Pull the yarn through one loop on your hook (as you normally would)



Now let go of the yarn and hold the new strand of yarn against your work.



Yarn over with the new color of yarn.



Pull the yarn though both loops on your hook.



You can now use the new strand of yarn to continue your work.



To change colors during different crochet stitches, the rule of thumb is to change the color during the last yarn over in the stitch.

Carrying Yarn
Sometimes you will find it useful to “carry” your yarn in your work. This is helpful if you plan to switch your color back to the previous color later. To carry your yarn in your work you change colors using the same method as above. After you change colors, hold the old strand of yarn against the loops of your work.



Now continue crocheting as you normally would with your new color. The old color will be carried in the work since it is being held against the loops you are crocheting in. When you are ready to change colors again the old color will be right there for you to use.

If you need help changing colors in crochet, just leave a comment and I would be glad to help!

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120 Comments

  1. Monique says:

    You read my mind with the color changing info! I am currently learning how to add pictures to my bags and stuff i crochet. Right now i am working on a bag with a skull and crossbones on the front. Its just sc, so should be easy enough. Thanks again, your pics and info really helped!

  2. Rachel says:

    I know I’ve been coming here for awhile now but it never fails to amaze me that you show this for both rights and lefts. You’re amazing! I’ll be linking.

  3. Angela says:

    Thank you so much for this info! I am currently making a hat for my son and was wondering how to do this without tying the colors together.

  4. Alyssa says:

    Great pictures, very easy to understand tutorial! =)

  5. Paulette says:

    Thank you, Rachel.
    Are we to crochet over the dropped yarn? I always feel like it will unravel, so I sometimes tie the two yarns. Yes, I know it’s a big no no, but as I said, I just feel insecure about dropping and picking up yarn without a slip knot or pulling (dropped yarn) through.

    • Rachel says:

      Hey Paulette!

      Sometimes it’s good to crochet over the dropped yarn, as some like to call it “carrying” the yarn in the work. If you choose not to, you can always weave the end of the yarn into the back of your work when you are done or you can tie the two pieces together. Do what seems right for you. I don’t think there is any wrong or right way of doing it.

  6. Paulette says:

    Thanks for your quick reply, Rachel.
    I will play around with my practice yarn.
    :)

  7. Ramona Medina says:

    Miss Rachel I Love all your Crochet Stich . THANKS!!!!!!!!! Ramona.

  8. jessi says:

    oh that makes sense to me now. I have a crochet book but your instructins are so much better.
    Thanks

  9. […] made these wrist warmers to practice changing colors in Tunisian crochet. Changing colors in crochet is really easy and the same principles still hold when you change colors in Tunisian. I really like […]

  10. […] prior knowledge of how to change colors in crochet is required. Directions for special stitches are given in […]

  11. […] this pattern you will need to know how to change colors, learn more about how to change colors in crochet if you are a […]

  12. […] color of the flap, change the color of your yarn here. Need help changing colors? Learn more about how to change colors in crochet. Row 46 – 50: ch 1, turn, sc in next 15 sc: 15 sc Row 51: ch 1, turn, (decrease, sc in next 3 sc) 3 […]

  13. […] Here is a small bag to tote around Halloween treats! Place candy inside or other delectable treats for kids and adults. You can even use this bag to hold a small Halloween surprise for your friends and family. This pattern is designed for beginners but you will need to know how to change colors in crochet. […]

  14. Hezaaa says:

    Thanks for this. I looked right over it the first time!

    Happy Stitching!

  15. […] them, by changing the color of your yarn after each round in the pattern. You can learn more about: How to Change Colors in Crochet. By the way, these ornaments can also make great pet […]

  16. […] is the same idea as carrying your yarn when you change colors in crochet. You can use this method anytime you are crochet over an area that is close to where your strand of […]

  17. […] 3 rows wide! Use a large hook and super bulky yarn to crochet this scarf in a jiffy. Knowledge of How to Change Colors in Crochet is required to create the stripe. You can adjust the length of the scarf by following the […]

  18. Beginner :) says:

    I am trying to crochet a horizontally striped scarf and I was wondering how would you do that?? Like would I switch colors at the end of the chain and cut the yarn and repeat the process? Sorry… I am REALLY new at crocheting.. ^_^’ ehehehehe…… Oh and.. THE YARN YOUR USING ARE LIKE THE EXACT SAME COLORS AS WHAT I’M USING FOR MY SCARF!! haha

  19. […] bookmark can be adjusted to so that you can make it longer or shorter as you see fit. Knowledge of how to change colors in crochet is […]

  20. […] can thing of! You can also use it as a pin or fridgie (refrigerator magnet). You will need to know how to change colors in crochet, so take a look at the tutorial if you do not already know how […]

  21. […] from your water bottle! This pattern requires color changes, if you do not already know how to change colors in crochet, it’s never too late to learn, or you can choose not to change colors in the […]

  22. Sarah says:

    I’m still a bit confused about carrying yarn as you change colors. I am trying to crochet the piano key scarf and every time I attempt to crochet the black into the white and carry the white with me, the keys end up looking black and white instead of just black. Am I doing this wrong or what? Is this a tip that is used only in special cases, and is so, what would those cases be? And if I do not carry the white yarn with me as I crochet the keys, do you have another way to switch back and forth between white and black? Do I need to just cut the yarn and reincorporate the colors back into the scarf? I am really wanting to figure this out and any help would be great.

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Sarah, the piano key scarf pattern will tell you when to carry each color and when to not carry it. This will prevent your blank keys from looking write. Please read the pattern carefully.

  23. Sherrie says:

    So, after changing the colors, do I just weave in the loose ends after that row? Also, which is better, to carry the yarn or not?

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Sherrie, yes you just weave in the loose ends after you change your colors. You can carry your yarn, but it would depend on your project/pattern. Sometimes when you carry it will make your work too bulky and the different colors will show though. But other times it’ll work fine and is very convenient. The more you crochet, you’ll find out what works for you. When in doubt just weave them in when you’re done.

  24. Kamama K Yeager says:

    Thanks for this. Am pretty experienced but never could quite figure out how to do this. (Should have asked mom and grandmas how before they passed on but didn’t.)

    1st question- when carrying yarn, doesn’t it make the sts bulkier?

    2ns question- doesn’t the carried color show through the new color?

    Thanks again!

  25. Rachel says:

    Hi Kamama, when you carry yarn it does make your work bulkier. For your second question, it depends on the yarn colors, some will show through and some won’t. Try it out!

  26. Fay says:

    I di not know how to change colors when crocheting. And when I try I do not know what to do with the old color that I started with Could some one please explain this to me . This would be very much appericated. For a am a new beginner in crocheting. Thank you

    • Rachel says:

      Fay, after you change your colors, simply weave your old color into your work. Or you can carry the old color in your work as shown at the bottom of this tutorial.

  27. Laura L says:

    Thank you so much, I am a beginner and this was very helpful.

  28. Jennifer says:

    This is such a helpful place! I make hats and have been pretty limited to one color. My aunt tried to explain changing colors but I couldn’t quite grasp it. I’ll have to give it another shot after this. I love your site, Rachel! ^_^

  29. Hi, when you change colors, what do you do with your old color, do you tie it off, or what.
    Or do weave the end into your item your working on.
    Please let me know. Thank you.
    LInda Jo Cameron

    • Rachel says:

      Yes, you weave the yarn into your work or you can carry it in the work. You can tie your yarn if you think it will make it more secure, but you don’t necessarily have to. It’s totally up to you :)

  30. […] changing yarn (see How to Change Colors in Crochet for more information on how to do this!) or attaching a new skein to a project you can easily hide […]

  31. […] This chevron is also perfect for stripes which really pop out when using this stitch.  See Changing Colors in Crochet for info on making great […]

  32. dawn says:

    hi rachel, hope you can help. i’m in the process of crocheting a baby afghan with the name in it. i’m having trouble with picking up colors. sometimes i have to pick up the different color after 2 rows, depending on the graph, but the back side looks terrible because now my yarn is going over the main color before being picked up again in the next row. how can i make this look better?
    thanks, dawn

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Dawn, if your unused color shows through, I wouldn’t carry it in your work. Carrying yarn is great when your stitches are tight and hides the unused yarn. Instead, you can cut the yarn and start it again where you need it. Or you can use multiple balls of the same color, depending on your graph.

  33. […] the order of the color changes to make your own unique creation! Not sure how to change colors? See How to Change Colors in Crochet for […]

  34. Tammie says:

    Hi~
    I have been puzzled as to how to change colors within a row…and I’m still confused. I am trying to crochet a cancer ribbon dish cloth and I tried to “carry” the colors, which the pink really stood out. I tried to end by cutting the MC to attach the CC…but that looked ridiculous.

  35. Terry says:

    I’m trying to crochet an oval in the middle of a color (making the crayon blanket), but mine is not looking like the picture and I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. I’ve ripped it out 4 times and I’m about to give up. You are my final hope for our grandson to get a blanket for Christmas. Here is a sample of the pattern…

    Row 38: 11 sts in crayon color, 4 sts in charcoal, 11 sts in crayon color.
    Row 39: 10 sts in crayon color, 6 sts in charcoal, 10 sts in crayon color.
    Row 40: 9 sts in crayon color, 8 sts in charcoal, 9 sts in crayon color.
    Row 41-42: 8 sts in crayon color, 10 sts in charcoal, 8 sts in crayon color.
    Row 43-44: 7 sts in crayon color, 12 sts in charcoal, 7 sts in crayon color.

    Could you please help me to understand when and where and how I change the color. I’m very new to crocheting. Thank you in advance for your help!!

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Terry, I’m not sure what stitches you are using, but if you look at the part of the tutorial under “Changing Colors in Crochet Stitches” it shows you how to change the color of the yarn at the end of a stitch. You would drop the yarn you are using and pick up the new color to complete your stitch. You can use this method for single crochet (as it’s shown in the photos) or double crochet, etc. For example, in row 38 of your pattern, you would change the color to charcoal on the last step of your 11th stitch. You would change to your crayon color during the last step of your 4th charcoal stitch.

  36. Terry says:

    I’m using a half double crochet..

    1. yo
    2. insert in next stitch
    3. yo
    4. pull through
    5. yo
    6. pull through all 3 loops on needle

    Do I change at step 5?

    If so, it looks right at the end of the oval, but not at the begining of the oval. I have to be doing something wrong, but I can’t figure out what it is. Am I doing the hdc wrong? Thank you so much for your help!!

  37. Terry says:

    I tore it out again, for the 10th time (or more). I’m going to try again from row one. When I get to the oval, if I can’t get it to work, I’ll send you a picture of it, if that’s ok.

  38. Debi Stoll says:

    Changing colors has always been a problem for me. Thanks for the great tutorial.

  39. […] Ch 2 and ch 3 at beginning of rows counts as stitch. Color changes are made by carrying yarn from the very start of the work–doing this makes the potholder thicker and […]

  40. maggie says:

    thanks for the helpful instructions and pictures! i usually have to learn through video but couldn’t find one applicable to my project that was also clear. i also like that you have roll overs for those who are LH; i’m RH but i thought that was a pretty cool way to show both :)

  41. Emilie says:

    Thank you for the helpful tips! How would I change color at the edge of my work? The same way? I usually knot them together, but I dont think that looks very well.

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Emilie, yes you would change colors the same way. You can tie a knot if you’d like, but you don’t need one. Weaving your yarn ends into your work when you’re done should be enough to secure the yarn.

  42. Marti says:

    I understand the directions now for working over yarn when using two colors, will there be a “wrong side” then? If so I’m confused because the directions states at end of row, turn, and continue pattern. If i”m not mistaken when you turn, i”ll be working “right ” side on “wrong” side, right???

  43. Kristina says:

    Thank you for the visual! I am a very visual learner and your photos have helped tremendously! Please keep up the excellent work.

  44. Julie says:

    Thank you for the left handed views!!!

  45. Stephanie says:

    If I change colors this way, can I cut it after that or do I have to carry it? I am making a ripple aphgan 2 rows of each color.

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Stephanie, you can either cut the yarn or carry it. It’s your choice! Feel free to try doing it both way to figure out which method you prefer.

  46. MARLlOU says:

    i HAVE TRIED OT USE TWO COLORS WHEN CROCHETING A DESIGN..BUT ONE COLOR ISALWAYS PROMINENT AND IT SHOULDN’T BE…hOW DO YOU CHANGE COLORS IN THE MIDDLE OF A ROW WITHOUT THE FIRST YARN SHOWING? i CAN’T FIND INFO ON THIS..
    i WOULD APPRECIATE SOME HELP
    MARY LOU

  47. Deb Morris says:

    I prefer cutting, especially if you are going to do several rows with the new color. Carrying it would waste a lot of yarn, something I really can’t afford to do. Plus it can make it look thicker where you carried it, and depending on the thickness of the yarn you are using, that could be an issue. It isn’t much of an issue with bulky yarn, but with very thin baby yarn, it really does show, even the little bit that you have to carry when you change colors. Just one old crocheter’s opinion, though, YMMV (you milage may vary).

    Deb

  48. Lydia says:

    Once you change colors, what do you do to secure the strand left from previous color? Cant that accidentally get pulled and release the previous stiches?

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Lydia, you can weave the ends into the work. Most of the time that’s enough to secure the yarn into place. But if you’re afraid that it’s not enough you can tie a small knot then weave your ends into the work.

  49. Penny says:

    I am thinking of making a blanket using the pattern for the Crochet Blue Ridge Throw from the Lion Website. In the pattern, you use 2 colors-two rows of each, back and forth with the colors. I have never done anything like this before. Your advice in how to change colors is very helpful. I have tried to find something to help me figure out how to change colors. But I am still sort of puzzled about something. You showed how to carry the yarn along a row. What I am wondering about is, can you carry the yarn up the side (end) instead of the rows, or is it best to just cut it off each time? If it is possible, then how. I would appreciate any thoughts or comments you may have. Thank You!

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