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Working With Numerous Skeins or Bobbins

Some absolutely gorgeous crocheted pieces call for multiple color changes with small amounts of color here and there. For projects such as this, you will use multiple skeins or balls for large sections of color and/or bobbins for the smaller areas. For patterns that do not state the number of balls or skeins to use, you can look at the stitch graph and count the sections. Yarn bobbins can be purchased at any craft store, or you can make your own from thin cardboard or a plastic lid (see diagram).

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A yarn bobbin is used just like a skein of yarn. It may be difficult at first to determine how much yarn to put on a bobbin, but it is easy to wind another. When the yarn on your bobbin runs low, use it until you have about six to eight inches left; stop and wind new yarn on the bobbin and proceed as you would for a normal color change using the same color as before. A bobby pin or stitch marker can be used to secure the last stitch while you ready the new bobbin if needed.

Undoubtedly, working with a large number of colors can lead to the yarn becoming tangled. Although each individual eventually comes up with the system that works best for her, here are a couple ways to avoid this problem.

Before beginning your crocheted piece, line the colors up on a table or in a lowm flat box in the order in which you will need them, working from right to left if you are right-handed or left to right if you are left-handed.

As you change colors across the piece, after picking up the next color, take the skein or bobbin you just dropped and pass it under the new color, placing it at the opposite end of the row of colors in the order it will be used. This helpful maneuver reverses the working order and keeps the skeins in the correct position for the next row after you turn. When done correctly, the transfer of skeins is almost seamless as you work and turn the work, although you must pay close attention to the color order.

For items that use only small amounts a colors, a box makes it easier to keep them all in one place, but there is another method you can use rather than reversing the order of each as you work. For this method, place the yarn in the box as stated before, but when changing from one to the other, place them back in the box in the original order. When you get to the end of the row, carefully turn your work and rotate the box 180 degrees in the same direction as you turned your work. This movement reverses the yarn and places it back in the correct working order without twisting the strands.

These techniques may seem confusing at first. However, if you practice, you will find the method that works best for you, and you'll soon find yourself painting with yarn!