How to knit a gradual colour change effect using two strands held together

Knitting with two strands of yarn held together creates a wonderful, marbled effect to your projects. Using one strand each of two different colours means that no one colour will be dominant and is a really simple way to give your work a wow effect.

This article will explain how to knit with two strands held together to create a lovely, gradual colour change effect.

You will also find the free knitting pattern, including colour guide, to knit a fabulous and cosy headband using this technique – a great way to practice this fun knitting colour work technique.

Read on to find out more and to get the free knitting pattern!

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Knitting with two strands of yarn held together

Knitting with two strands of yarn held together can produce really interesting results. The headband shown here looks really unusual, kind of marbled and kind of ombre.

This look was achieved by holding two strands of yarn together and knitting them at the same time, and then dropping one of the colours and adding in the other. After a few rows, another colour is introduced, dropping the colour has already been used twice.

For example, you would knit with black and white, then black and purple, then purple and green, then green and brown, and so on.

The best way to knit with two strands held together is to wind each colour into smaller balls and place both into a yarn bowl. This will prevent the yarns from getting all twisted and will also keep them clean.

Yarn bowls are brilliantly helpful when knitting with two strands of yarn held together.

Knitting pattern for colour blend headband

Needles and yarn required:

6mm straight needles or double pointed needles and 50g oddments/leftovers of double knitting yarn.

Yarn used for headband in photograph:

Unbranded basic acrylic double knitting yarn.


The headband is knit using two strands of different coloured yarn held together.

With each colour change, one of the strands is dropped, and one new colour added each time.  This gives an appealing graduated type of blending, rather than an abrupt colour block effect.

The headband is basically a knitted tube, and you can achieve this by knitting flat or in the round – whichever technique of knitting you prefer.

To knit the headband on straight needles:

Cast on 28 stitches.  

Holding 2 strands together, work stocking stitch (k 1 row, p 1 row) until desired length.

Periodically change ONE of the strands.  Cut the discarded colour.  Leave all yarn ends long as you will use this to sew up the headband later.

*To achieve exactly the same colour as the headband above, work colours as follows:

8cm black and white

3cm white and purple

7cm purple and grey

4cm grey and yellow

2cm yellow and purple

1cm purple and black

1cm black and orange

2cm orange and blue

7cm blue and light pink

4cm light pink and dark pink

6cm dark pink and grey 

Moving from black and white to white and purple, the black yarn was cut and the purple tied in. Then the white was cut and grey tied in. And so on.

A closer look at the gradual colour changes formed by knitting with two strands held together.

When work is of desired length, cast off.  You now need to to sew up the headband to make a tube.  Use the cut yarn to do this.  Use a single strand to sew up along the seam, and place all yarn ends inside the tube.  You do not need to weave in the ends.

When you have a long tube sew up the two ends to make the headband.  Weave in the ends.

Now make the centre piece.  On a wide eyed needle, thread through 6 strands of the yarn used for knitting the headband.  Make a running stitch through where the two ends were sewn together.  You need to have 40cm of yarn above the centre of the headband, and 40cm below.  Now cut the yarn.

Pull to gather and wrap these strands around the headband several times.  Leave enough yarn to knot at the back and then tuck in the ends so they are hidden.

This photo shows how to make the centre piece of the headband.

To knit the headband on double pointed needles:

With 6mm double pointed needles and 2 strands of yarn, divide and cast on 28 stitches and join to knit in the round. 

Holding 2 strands together, k until desired length and then cast off.

Periodically change ONE of the strands.  Cut the discarded colour.  Leave all yarn ends inside the tube.  They will be hidden and do not need to be weaved in.

For the rest of the headband follow * above.  The headband will already be in a tube shape so you only need to sew up the two ends.

You can see here the graduated colour changes throughout the headband.

Thanks for voting us today please do check back again for more free knitting patterns and knitting related articles.

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