We crocheters love color, and using an ombré palette can result in some stunning effects. But did you know that you don’t need an expensive gradient yarn to achieve it?
You can design your own ombré crochet gradients using any yarn by choosing your colors carefully, just as I did for my lovely fall-inspired mug cozy.
First off, I’ll share some tips I learned while designing the mug cozy you see above. Then, keep reading for a FREE pattern to make your own mug cozy!
Quick tips for beautiful, colorful ombré crochet
Tip #1: Experiment with color
I knew that I wanted to use a fall color palette, and the first step was to decide exactly which colors to use and how to combine them to produce an ombré effect.
The principle is easy: Just line up your colors going from dark to light. In practice though, it can be tricky…
I tried to create a sequence going from dark on the left to light on the right, but the picture above shows I didn’t get it quite right on the first try.
These pegs can be useful for color planning, but sometimes it’s easier to see when the yarn has already been worked up.
I also tried color planning using tiny granny squares, each just two rounds, made in a different color. Then, I arranged them so that the lighter shades were on the top left, moving to darker at the lower right.
There are plenty more ways to preview your colors before you start stitching. Regardless of which method you use, have fun experimenting and settle on a color order before you pick up your hook.
Tip #2: Experiment with stitch pattern swatches
Making a swatch at the start of a project can seem boring and pointless, but swatches are never wasted! For an ombré crochet project, a swatch lets you see how your colors look in different stitch patterns.
As I made my ombré mug cozy, my swatch helped me in three big ways:
- It helped me decide on which crochet stitch to use in the cozy.
- It helped me finalize the colors and the color order that would create the best ombré effect.
- It gave me the information I needed on guage and size — really important if you want to make a mug cozy for different sizes of mug.
I started with a granny stripe — I loved he colors, but the blocks of but the blocks of color would make it difficult to see the ombré effect on a small item. An ombré granny stripe would need something much larger, like a baby blanket.
I then tried the linen stitch, which produces a nice, dense crochet fabric and blends the colors really well. I could see this working really well to produce an ombré effect.
In my final swatch, I combined linen stitch with my fall colors to see how it all worked together. I was pleased at how well the ombré effect of light colors moving into darker ones worked, even with these few rows of color!
This swatch also gave me some really important information that I wasn’t expecting.
- The edges of a linen stitch rectangle look a mess! So, I decided to work in the round — no messy edges! Plus, the mug cozy would be twice as thick and twice as efficient at keeping my tea warm.
- It gave me my gauge for the cozy: 5 stitches in 1″ and 5 rows in 1″.
As my finished sequence shows, repeating and alternating some of the colors really amplified the ombré effect.
Ombré crochet mug cozy pattern
What you need:
- Multiple colors of yarn in the same weight
- Hook needed to get gauge
Getting gauge for your mug cozy
I made a cozy for an oversized mug. You’ll need to adjust this pattern to whatever size mug you have — and the key to getting the right size is gauge. Here’s how:
- Measure the circumference and height of your mug in inches. Subtract the space you need for the handle from the circumference. You may also want to subtract a bit from the height, to give yourself space for drinking.
- Make a swatch and adjust as needed to get 5 stitches per 1″ and 5 rows per 1″ (if you’re not familiar with gauge, check out this free guide.)
- Multiply the circumference of your mug by 5. Double this, and round up to the nearest odd number. This will be the number for your starting chain.
- Multiply the height of your mug by 5. That is how many rows you need.
The mug cozy is worked in linen stitch rounds. All of the color changes happen in the back half of the cozy, the one that will lie right up against your mug and so won’t be visible. The ‘perfect’ half will be the one on show. Use a hook smaller than the size you would normally use for your yarn weight. I used a 3.25mm hook for my DK yarn to get a good, firm crochet fabric.
Using Color 1, chain the number of stitches you calculated for your starting chain. join with sl st. Ch 2, *skip a ch, sc into the next stitch, ch1*. Repeat * to end. Close round with a sl st.
You will end up with a thin circle. Fasten off Color 1 and weave in the ends.
Place two markers directly opposite each other divide the circle into two. (I’m using my Halloween markers as this is a fall project.) The half that contains the join in Round 1 is the back, and you should make all your color changes in this section. To avoid an obvious seam, join your new yarn colors at different points.
Choose any chain space in the back part of the circle to join Color 2. The chain space can be difficult to see at first. Make sure you are placing your hook between the sc stitches.
Join Color 2 with a standing single crochet. This is a much neater way to start a new color when working in linen stitch, as it minimizes the seam.
Start by holding the yarn at the back of the work. Yarn over once…
…then, insert your hook into the chain space, yarn over and pull through.
Yarn over once more and pull through both loops on the hook.
You have just completed the first sc of round 2.
Now you can carry on with round 2, working in linen stitch: *Ch1, sc into next ch space*. Repeat to end, the join with a sl st into the standing sc.
It’s a good idea at this stage to check that your cozy and your mug are a good fit. There should be a small gap between the ends and the start of the handle:
Repeat Round 2 using your chosen color sequence. Weave in all ends at the back of the work. There are a lot, so be as neat as you can.
You now have something that looks quite like a shallow cowl. My mug is so big, my finished linen stitch cozy did actually fit over my head!
Use a blunt-ended darning needle and matching yarn to sew together the top and bottom edge with a whip stitch, leaving a gap of about half of an inch at each side.
Remove your stitch markers, sew in any remaining yarn tails and gently steam block.
To steam block, place your finished cozy right-side down on your ironing board and cover with a damp cloth. Hold your iron at the surface of the cloth until it steams (this steam goes into your crochet fabric and helps the cozy retain its shape.) Use gentle pressure — do not press down or you will flatten the crochet stitches.
Fitting the handle braces
Using any two colors held together and a 4mm hook, make a chain that’s slightly longer than twice the depth of the cozy.
Thread the tail ends onto your blunt darning needle and pull the chain through the ½” open space on one side of the cozy. Tie the two sets of tail ends of the chain together securely.
Cut the tails to a length of 1″, then move the handle brace so that the ends are inside the cozy. Repeat for the other side of the cozy.
Slip these over your mug handles to hold the cozy in place.