Switching Colors in the Middle of a Row

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Crochet projects don’t have to be solid blocks of color – there are lots of great ways to add color to a pattern! And switching colors in the middle of a row is one of the most common methods. This allows you to make everything from simple geometric patterns to complex pictures. Here’s the best way I know to switch colors in the middle of a row or round of crochet.

How to Change Colors in the Middle of a Row


The written instructions:

When you are ready to introduce a new color in the next stitch, you start with the previous stitch. Make the stitch as you normally would, but stop when there are two loops left on the hook (three for hdc sts), right before you would normally yarn over and pull through to finish the stitch. At this point, yarn over with the new color, Color B, and pull this new color loop through the loops on the hook. Let the unused original color, Color A, fall behind your work. Continue crocheting with Color B until you are ready to introduce a new color or switch back to Color A.

This method works with any kind of stitch. If you are making short color changes with only two or at most three colors of yarn, you have the option of enclosing the unused yarn in your stitches as you work, as in tapestry crochet, or you can leave the strands loose (though not too loose) on the back of your work, picking them up again as they get used. However, if you are working with lots of color changes or long stretches of one color before the first color gets used again, breaking the yarn and starting it over again with each change may be the better option.

Have you used this method for switching colors in the middle of a row or round before? What other tips or tutorials would you like to see videos for here on moogly? Let us know in the comments!

how to crochet how to change colors in crochet how to switching colors in the middle of a rowBe sure to check out and like the moogly Facebook page to get the latest updates, links, and sneak peeks. Moogly is also on Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr – come join the fun! TamaraKelly@mooglyblog.com

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    • 4

      moogly says

      Jenny, that depends on what you do with the ends. For the cleanest finish, cut the yarn every time and weave in the ends. Otherwise, the stitch itself will look just as good!

    • 6

      moogly says

      Angela, you’re very welcome! You just add the new color by pulling up a loop of it for the “yo and pull through” that ends the stitch. Leave the tail hanging behind your work, and weave it in when you’re done. It’s just as simple as it sounds. :)

    • 8

      moogly says

      Hi Barbara! Here’s what I said above to Jenny: that depends on what you do with the ends. For the cleanest finish, cut the yarn every time and weave in the ends. Otherwise, the stitch itself will look just as good!

      • 9

        DeBbie says

        I understand about cutting the color used in the change, but it’s for a popcorn type accent and weaving it in would show. Could I cut and tie it off?

        • 10

          Tamara Kelly says

          Tying knots is always super risky, as they have a way of coming undone. You would need to weave in the end back in the section of the same color to hide it.

  1. 14

    Kate says

    Thank you Moogly. I actually used the principal for adding a new color at the beginning of a row, and figured it out myself. I did exactly as you instruct, using the tapestry weave for the ends. Thanks again for getting back to me.

  2. 15


    Thanks so much for the great video! I am crocheting a Barbie dress that has 1 main colour, with a contrast colour up the side of the dress. I crochet 20 stitches, change colours for 2, then back to 11 main colour stitches, then back to 2 contrast colours. What is the best way to do this? Leave the contrast colour hanging and pick up as needed? Thanks!

    • 16

      Tamara Kelly says

      Thanks Ramona! You can do it two ways – “float” the unused color along the back, or crochet right over it. If you crochet over it, it might peek through, but floating it requires watching the tension and might catch on barbie’s toes… It’s up to you which you prefer!

  3. 18

    Pat says

    The tutorials are awesome. When I finished the explanation of what I wanted to learn, I understood it completely.Thanks Moogly.

  4. 24

    Judy says

    Tamara, help! I am working a shawl that changes color on the diagonal. I’ve single-crocheted 5 inches of Color A and now am switching to Color B to begin the diagonal. The starting row of the color change is, essentially, 1 stitch color B, 99 stitches color A; Row 2, 2 stitches color B, 98 stitches color A, and so on. As the color changes are in the same location, I can just drop the yarn and pick it up when I get to the same point in the next row. I’m making the color changes as your video demonstrates, but I must not be picking up the yarn the right way because the color changes don’t look the same on both sides. Do I need to, say, bring Color A OVER Color B on one side and bring Color A UNDER Color B on the next row so the two sides match? Please help me end the frogging. :)

    Thank you, too, for your wonderful site, patterns, and helpful instructions.

    • 25

      Tamara Kelly says

      Hi Judy! Getting them to look the same on both sides is the hardest part! It will definitely take some experimenting. Moving color B to the front of your work when you drop it, instead of leaving it hanging off the back, is one way to deal with this. Also, crocheting over Color A for one extra stitch to prep for the next row. This video might help: CLICK HERE

      • 26

        Judy says

        Brilliant! The video was very helpful–not just for the how-to but for the “theory” behind it. Knowing what to do in crochet is pretty easy–it’s knowing “why” that separates artists like you from the practitioners like me. Thank you!

  5. 28

    Lorraine says

    I’m currently making an afghan that has several rows of a one color (honeydew) and, then one row of Aran, one row of Spring Green, one row of Aran, and then back to several rows of Honeydew. . I thought of just carrying the Honeydew along, but I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough of the Honeydew if I did that. How would you do it?

    • 29

      Tamara Kelly says

      Well, I think the best way to avoid cutting it, while maximizing the yardage, would be to “float” it along the side. So don’t cut the yarn after the last honeydew row, but when you come back along with the spring green, catch it in the last stitch, then do the same with the other colors, until it’s time to crochet with the honeydew again. Then you cover up the float with a border/blanket edging! The trick is making sure that the other colors create an even number of rows, so that the honeydew is in the right place to start again. Otherwise the next honeydew section will start with a row going the same direction as the last aran stripe.


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