Ombre Yarn Guide: How To Create an Ombre

Ombre designs are trending in all areas of craft, fashion and decor. You can create your own ombre in crochet or knitting. This article shows you how to create blue ombres using Red Heart Super Saver yarn. We'll cover a basic ombre, subtler ombres using multi-stranding techniques, what happens when you try to ombre a variegated yarn and more. By the end of this article, you should be able to create your own ombre pattern using any section of the color wheel.

What is Ombre?

Ombre is a French word that refers to a single color in graduated tones. For example, a green ombre is several different tones of green layered next to each other from dark to light or light to dark.

Color Key

How to Create an Ombre

    Here is the color key that we are using throughout this article for your reference.

  • Color A: 0387 Soft Navy

  • Color B: 0385 Royal

  • Color C: 0380 Windsor Blue

  • Color D: 3945 Blue Suede

  • Color E: 0886 Blue

  • Color F: 0885 Delft Blue

  • Color G: 0347 Light Periwinkle

  • Color H: 0382 Country Blue

  • Color I: 0381 Light Blue

  • Color J: 0656 Real Teal

  • Color K: 0512 Turqua

  • Color L: 3862 Jade

  • Color M: 0505 Aruba Sea

  • Color N: 0984 Shaded Dusk

  • Color O: 3944 Macaw

  • Color P: 0847 Blue Tones

  • Color Q: 3952 Icelandic

Ordering Colors for Ombre

How to Create an Ombre

You want to order your colors from dark to light (or light to dark) to create your ombre. This is fairly straightforward. However, the eye can sometimes get tricked when looking at different hues within the same color family. In our samples, we are creating a blue ombre. Blue includes true blues, grey-blues and blue-greens. A very vivid blue (such as Color B Royal) can be placed next to a dark grey-blue (like Color C Windsor Blue) and a deep blue-green (like Color J Real Teal) and it can be really difficult to tell which one is actually "darkest".

    Here are some tips:

  • Select only the colors that are truly in the same color family. You'll notice in the samples below that I separated the blue-greens from the true blues for my ombre.

  • Trust yourself. Consider it more of an art than a science and trust what looks best to your own eye.

  • But there is a science. If you feel really unsure and want to learn more about color gradients, you can use tools online to help you select the right color gradients. If you're interested in learning more about color depths, it can help to understand RGB vs HSV.)

  • Play with it. Sometimes you just need to try a few things to see what works best for you. Take a look at the sample below and you'll see an ombre I've created using Colors A-I then a similar ombre where I've swapped Colors B and C with each other. Which one is the "right" one? Neither is right or wrong. It's about personal preference.

How to Create an Ombre

Regular Ombre, Dark to Light

All of these samples are worked in rows of half double crochet, 30 stitches per row, one color per row. We're working from dark to light in the following samples. You can also use ombre in knitting, and can do multiples rows before changing color. The ombre will look best if you use the same number of rows for each color.

Example One, Full Color Set:

How to Create an Ombre

In this sample of 9 rows, I've used all of the colors A-I, which are ordered dark to light. I didn't include Colors J-M because they are shades of blue-green, rather than just blue, and therefore they don't incorporate into the ombre as well. I also didn't use colors N-Q because they are multi-colored shades. Later in this tutorial we will look at using these colors in ombre designs.

  • Row 1: Color A

  • Row 2: Color B

  • Row 3: Color C

  • Row 4: Color D

  • Row 5: Color E

  • Row 6: Color F

  • Row 7: Color G

  • Row 8: Color H

  • Color I

Example Two, Partial Color Set:

How to Create an Ombre

  • Row 1: Color A

  • Row 2: Color C

  • Row 3: Color D

  • Row 4: Color E

  • Row 5: Color F

  • Row 6: Color G

  • Row 7: Color I

How to Create an Ombre

In the image above you'll see the double-strand ombre on top vs. single-strand below

The examples above are terrific options for creating an ombre pattern. However, you might want to create a subtler gradation from color to color. This is best done by using multi-stranded crochet or knitting. Let's take a look at two-stranded and four-stranded ombre options.

For these samples, we are using the "partial color set" of six colors as shown above (Colors A, C, D, E, F, G and I).

Two Strands

How to Create an Ombre

You will hold two strands together in each row here. You will begin by working with two strands of Color A. Then you will use one strand of Color A, one strand of Color C. Then you will use two strands of Color C. The full list is shown below:

  • Row 1: A, A

  • Row 2: A, C

  • Row 3: C, C

  • Row 4: C, D

  • Row 5: D, D

  • Row 6: D, E

  • Row 7: E, E

  • Row 8: E, F

  • Row 9: F, G

  • Row 10: G, G

  • Row 10: G, G

  • Row 10: G, G

Four Strands

How to Create an Ombre

The image above shows four-stranded ombre crochet using colors A, C and D

    This is a similar process to the two-stranded pattern but instead each row is worked using four strands held together.

  • Row 1: A, A, A, A

  • Row 2: A, A, A, C

  • Row 3: A, A, C, C

  • Row 4: A, C, C, C

  • Row 5: C, C, C, C

  • Row 6: C, C, C, D

  • Row 7: C, C, D, D

  • Row 8: C, D, D, D

  • Row 9: D, D, D, D

  • Row 10: D, D, D, E

  • Row 11: D, D, E, E

  • Row 12: D, E, E, E

  • Row 13: E, E, E, E

  • Row 14: E, E, E, F

  • Row 15: E, E, F, F

  • Row 16: E, F, F, F

  • Row 17: F, F, F, F

  • Row 18: F, F, F, G

  • Row 19: F, F, G, G

  • Row 20: F, G, G, G

  • Row 21: G, G, G, G

  • Row 22: G, G, G, I

  • Row 23: G, G, I, I

  • Row 24: G, I, I, I

  • Row 25: I, I, I, I

How to Create an Ombre

Detail of rows 1-9, four-strand ombre crochet

Blue-Green Samples

You can create these types of ombre designs using colors from any section of the color wheel. As an example, let's take a look at the blue-green colors of Red Heart Super Saver (Colors J-M in our Color Key). Here we have what they look like as a basic ombre (J, K, L, M) and a two-stranded ombre (JJ, JK, KK, KL, LL, LM, MM).

How to Create an Ombre

Multi-Color Yarn

How to Create an Ombre

Can you create an ombre effect using variegated or other multi-color yarn? The answer is "somewhat". Since each yarn has a mixture of dark and light colors within it, you won't get a true ombre effect, but you do get a really interesting design that has hints of ombre in it. To showcase this, let's look at Colors N-Q in our Color Key.

The trick is to look for the darkest color in each skein of yarn and then order the skeins from dark to light based on that. In this case, they are ordered N, O, P, Q. These samples show what that looks like as a basic ombre (one strand: N, O, P, Q) and a subtle ombre (two strands: NN, NO, OO, OP, PP, PQ, QQ).

How to Create an Ombre

Red Heart offers a variety of different types of multi-color yarns. Learn about the difference between multis, prints and ombres here. If you want to attempt an ombre effect with multi-color yarns, it's best to use yarns in the same type of color effects (for example, either a set of multis or a set of prints, not a combination of the two).

Additional Tips for Ombre

Ready to create your own ombre pattern? Here are some tips:

  • The effect works best when you use the same number of rows for each color. If you start out with three rows of Color A, you'll want to follow with three rows of each color after that. This isn't a requirement, of course, but a good starting point in creating your designs.

  • Ombres can produce an interesting effect when worked in the round instead of by rows. Try it to make an interesting cushion, blanket or rug.

  • When multi-stranding, you will only change one yarn color at a time. So if you are double-stranding, you will keep one color, change one color in each row.

Pattern Suggestions

You can make an ombre effect on any pattern you wish, but here are three suggestions to start with. The crocheted basket uses a multi-stranding technique to transition from the grey to the orange, but you can change it to an ombre. Both the crochet ripple blanket and the knit chevron blanket work well with the contrasting stripes changed to ombre stripes.