Here at Gathered we're definitely colour-lovers - the brighter the better! So it'll come as no surprise that we're big fans of ombre yarn, and if you're like us then you'll be pleased to know there's tons of different types of ombre yarn available. But before we delve right in to these colourful yarns, it's worth clarifying exactly what is ombre yarn, and how does it differ from other multi-coloured yarns?
Well essentially, an ombre colour effect is one where colours fade into each other with a smooth transition (or gradient) - normally fading between two different shades of the same colour... but it can include more. You may see multi-coloured yarns described as variegated, which essentially just means it contains different colours.
However there is a bit of cross-over with the terms, as you could have a variegated yarn with multiple colours, but that fades smoothly between colours so could be said to have an ombre effect. But when it comes to ombre yarns it's all about the ability to create smooth colour changes - whereas a variegated yarn could include those with sudden colour changes, like with some self-striping yarns for example. It can be quite tricky to tell what the resulting colour effect will be just from looking at a wound ball of yarn, as multiple factors can all make a difference (i.e. whether you knit or crochet, the size of your project, stitches used, etc).
In this post we'll try and focus on yarns that have an obvious tonal blend that produces ombre effects, but you should consider the type of project you're using it for as well as your desired colour effect - i.e. are you happy to experiment and see what happens, or do you specifically want one long and smooth colour change?
Now that we've got a better idea of what we mean by ombre yarns, lets take a look at some of our favourites!
Looking for more advice for your yarn purchases? We're here to help! Check out our pick of the best sparkle yarns, or treat yourself to one of the best hand-dyed yarns, or try something really different with one of the best novelty yarns!
Best ombre yarns
King Cole Riot DK
We love the fabulous ombre colour changes in the Riot DK yarn from King Cole. Available in 22 colour combinations, all featuring long smooth colour changes that create beautiful colour gradients, which look great when worked back and forth in rows but also work brilliantly on projects like granny squares where you work in the round. It's a blend of 70% acrylic and 30% wool, and has a minimal twist which helps to create a plump roving-style yarn. It's also machine washable at 40° and can even be tumble-dried on a cool setting, meaning it's easy to care for! We particularly love the bright Caribbean shade, but there also some fantastic pastel and natural colour combinations too if you're not such a fan of neon colours.
Buy King Cole Riot DK yarn from Amazon
Lion Brand Scarfie
While many yarns feature colour changes that are achieved by dying techniques, there is an alternative technique which also creates fabulous colour changes and gradients, like in this Lion Brand Scarfie yarn. The yarn is made up of individual strands dyed in solid colours that are spun together, then portions of those individual strands are gradually switched to a different colour. This creates a fabulous gradient effect as more strands change, starting off with subtle flecks of the new colour as it come in and transitions to the next solid colour. It's another acrylic and wool blend meaning you get that natural wooly feel but at an affordable price tag. Plus, this chunky weight yarn comes with 285m of yarn on the 150g ball, with one ball easily being enough to make a fantastic ombre scarf!
Buy Lion Brand Scarfie yarn from Amazon
Rico Fashion Cotton Light and Long
The Fashion Cotton Light & Long yarn from Rico Design delivers exactly what the name suggests - long smooth colour changes in a super-lightweight yarn. This is achieved largely thanks to the chainette yarn structure which helps to give you the standard Dk weight, and when you look closely you can see the subtle colour differences in the strands which also helps to give your final fabric a gentle marled effect as well as the beautiful colour transition. Plus if you really fall in love with this brilliant yarn, there's also a tweed range for you to try too!
Buy Rico Fashion Cotton Light and Long from Lovecrafts
If you prefer the finer things in life, then how about this stunning Charm yarn from Stylecraft. Perfect for your intricate projects such as shawls, this lovely lace yarn has some amazing ombre colour effects (we particularly love the greens and blues in the Deep Water shade) which blend beautifully in the twist of the yarn. It contains a blend of acrylic, wool and mohair fibres, producing a soft and lightweight yarn, and with over 1000m on a single 200g ball you should have plenty for your project!
Buy Stylecraft Charm from KnittingNetwork
Lily Sugar 'N Cream Ombre
Lily Sugar N' Cream yarns are a fabulous choice for chunky hard-wearing cotton projects, and come in a wide range of solid colours - but it's their fabulous ombre range that caught our attention here. It's a worsted/Aran weight cotton so gives you nice big stitches, but it's the colours that are the real star of the show. There's 45 different colour variegations in the range, which come in both contrasting and complimentary colour combinations. The colour changes are quite quick so it may not be the best for if you're after long ombre colour changes, however it can create some nice colour fades when worked in certain stitches.
Buy Lily Sugar 'N Cream Ombre from Amazon
Lang Yarns Jawoll Magic Degrade
If you're after an ombre yarn that has that lovely fade effect, but want a whole palette of colours in your yarn, then the Lang Yarns Jawoll Magic Degrade is perfect for you! This fabulous 4ply yarn comes in a range of gradient colourways and is made up of a blend of nylon and virgin wool. The colours change from one to the other with a really smooth transition, but because those colour changes are relatively short it's again another case of your choice of stitches will determine whether it will create a self-striping or gradient effect.
Buy Lang Yarns Jawoll Magic Degrade from Lovecrafts
Hoooked Wavy Blends
Here's a yarn that is definitely getting a big thumbs up from us! The Hoooked wavy blends yarn is an Aran weight yarn with an i-cord style structure, and features wonderful smooth colour transitions that create glorious gradients. But the fab colours aren't the only reason we love these funky yarn cakes - they're also made of 80% recycled cotton yarn and 20% other recycled fibres, making it a great eco-friendly yarn choice too!
Buy Hoooked Wavy Blends from Lovecrafts
Coraline mini skein fade set
If you really want full control of your ombre yarn and where those colours change in your project, then one option is to use a mini skein fade set. This set from Wild Field Fibre comes with four 20g hand-dyed 4ply mini-skeins which slightly differ in tones, allowing you to create a brilliant ombre effect with colour changes exactly where you want them (no more changes mid-way through a row).
Buy Coraline mini skein fade set on Etsy
Cygnet yarns boho spirit
For those of you who fancy an ombre yarn but still need convincing that 100% acrylics don't have to be cheap and nasty (although it is a budget price), then we'd definitely recommend trying the Boho Spirit range from Cygnet yarns. This premium acrylic yarn is amazingly soft, with a lovely hand-spun style and a natural looking halo and sheen to it too. The colours are incredibly deep and rich creating brilliant gradients, and with 13 colour combinations to choose from you're bound to find one that is perfect for your next project!
Buy Cygnet yarns boho spirit from WoolWarehouse
Hayfield Spirit Chunky
Here's a colour-changing yarn that is perfect for those of you who like big chunky stitches! The Hayfield Spirit Chunky yarn is a blend of 80% acrylic and 20% wool, giving you that natural wooly halo and feel with the added strength and consistency of acrylic yarn. It also features a strongly defined twist, which will really help to show off textured stitches such as cables. There's 10 colour combinations in the range, varying from pastel tones to a couple of rainbow combinations, plus the Hayfield Spirit also comes in a Dk range too!
Buy Hayfield Spirit Chunky from KnittingNetwork
Sultan yarn cakes
If you've been reading through this list but still haven't spotted an ombre yarn in your favourite colour combinations yet, then we're pretty sure there will be one here that's perfect for you! The Sultan yarn cakes from Cotton Kings are a 4ply cotton yarn which come in 200g yarn cakes (with a huge 800m on a single cake). There's 55 colour combinations in the Sultan range all creating beautiful long ombre gradients... but that's not all, there are also four more varieties of the Sultan range - Sultan Shadow (gradients all starting in black), Sultan Pastello (light pastel combinations), Sultan Deluxe (their premium cotton range) and Sultan Deluxe Shine (premium cotton with glitter).
Buy Sultan yarn cakes from Hobbii.com
We instantly fell in love with the gorgeous colour gradients in the Schachenmayr Tahiti yarn from the moment we cast our eyes on it! This beautiful lace-weight cotton yarn (with 1% polyester to give you a little bit of stretch) is just made for summer shawls and other airy lacy makes, with 21 colour combinations all featuring lovely long smooth transitions.
Buy Schachenmayr Tahiti Lace yarn from Lovecrafts
Stylecraft Cabaret Dk
It's not just beautiful colour gradients we love - we're also big fans of a bit of sparkle too! The Stylecraft Cabaret Dk yarn is another premium acrylic yarn that will impress even the most ardent of real wool aficionado's! It's got a fabulous metallic glitter strand running throughout, which will either be one solid metallic colour or varying tones depending on the shade. There's 12 colour combinations to try, from subtle pastels and monochromes to bright colourful combos!
Buy Stylecraft Cabaret Dk from Knitting Network
MamaBearYarns mini skein set
Continuing with the sparkle theme, here's some more mini-skein sets that enable you to make your own gradients, but this time with that added bit of glitter! MamaBearYarns has a few different hand-dyed mini skein sets available, but we particularly love their Raspberry Fade and Sapphire Sparkle sets which come with that added metallic strand to add some sparkle to those stunning colours!
If you're after a really long ombre gradient in your knitting or crochet project, then you simply must take a look at the Scheepjes Whirligig yarn cakes! These 450g cakes come with a whopping 1000m of DK yarn (which makes a bit more sense when you see the price tag), and all feature a gentle shifting colour change throughout the whole cake. Plus if you want to extend those colours, you can incorporate the Whirligigette range which is exactly the same yarn but in single colours.
Buy Scheepjes Whirligig from WoolWarehouse
We hope you’ve enjoyed our pick of the best ombre yarns. Don’t forget, if you need any help with your crochet stitches you can always check out our crochet for beginners guide. And if you’re looking to treat yourself, check out our list of the best crochet hooks and the best crochet kits for beginners.
Matt Spiers is a crochet artist and designer who has been overseeing Gathered's crochet articles for over 2 years. He previously worked as Digital Assistant for Simply Crochet magazine and is our in house video editing pro. What started as a hobby a decade ago led to Matt developing a passion (and then a career) with crochet. As well as still regularly writing and designing for Simply Crochet magazine, Matt is a crochet artist in his own right, having displayed and created crochet installations at festivals and fibre events across the UK. You can keep up to date with Matt at @onemancrochet on Instagram.