Color flashing is a term used by crocheters, knitters and other fiber artists to describe a phenomenon that can occur when using variegated or ombre yarn. Flashing happens when the colors in the variegated yarn create unintended visual effects such as zigzags, diagonal patterns, argyle patterns, or other recognizable patterns.
Some fiber artists want flashing to occur. Others think it is horrible, and go to great lengths to avoid it.
A variety of factors contribute to color flashing, and whether or not it occurs in any given project:
- The yarn you use, and its color repeat
- The stitch(es) you use
- The pattern you use
- Your hook (or needle) size
If you find unwanted flashing occurring in any of your projects, you can try changing any of the above elements to see if it will produce different results. There are other things you can try as well.
- You can try alternating skeins of yarn. This will probably not work if both skeins have identical color repeats. It is more likely to work if the color repeats are different. One thing you can try is winding one skein of the yarn backwards so that the color repeat is reversed. This might or might not work, depending on other factors.
- Alternate your variegated skein with a different color of yarn all together
- As a last resort, you can try cutting sections out of the yarn as necessary.
A related phenomenon is known as color pooling.