3-Color-Tunisian Cowls (or What to do with little bits of yarn)

In my preparations for moving the studio, I recently came upon a little treasure trove of yarn samples.  Most were upper end yarns but none of the yarn quantities were enough to make more than a swatch.  What simple, fast project could I make that would combine them to result in a celebration of different colors and textures?

My go-to technique for this kind of thing is 3-Color Tunisian Crochet as epitomized by the Stashbuster Blanket design I did several years ago.  No need to rethink things, I thought, so this time I just used the technique on a much smaller scale with a smaller hook and smaller quantities of yarn.


I wanted to make something small that would use about 12 mini-balls or so, and nothing made more sense than the ever-popular cowl. Using a P Tunisian Crochet hook, I started with 15 stitches and worked even in 3-color-Tunisian until my work measured about 22”, then whip-stitched my starting chain to my Tunisian bind-off stitches.  I finished the project by working single crochet in the round very loosely with the same hook around the vertical bars at each edge.

For my Sandstone Palette Cowl, I just worked single-stranded for the entire project, even though my yarn gauges differed slightly.  With 3-color-Tunisian, the width of the work will vary if all 3 of your working groups of yarn are not the same gauge, but in the case of the yarns in this palette, the gauge variation was small enough, and the width of the project was narrow enough (less stitches in width = less total potential width variation), that the slight variations in width in the work are negligible.

For my Hibiscus Palette Cowl, I had some pretty bulky yarns in the palette, so I needed to hold some of the finer yarns double-stranded to avoid too much variation in the cowl width.


Working the 3-Color-Tunisian technique really does feel like painting with your yarn stash. It can be a really fun and intuitive approach to crochet. It feels like you’re sketching with fiber! Just remember to keep that hook size large in relation to your yarn. Tunisian has a tendency to create a thick fabric and no one wants to wear a stiff fiber ring around their neck.


If you want to try this technique too, check out our free 3-Color-Tunisian Tutorial. You can get more details on mixing and choosing yarns in our Stashbuster Blanket pattern.  And if you don’t have the stash, or want help choosing a color palette, you might be interested in one of our Coordinated Yarn Palette Packs.  Although yardages in these packs are not guaranteed or specified, I had more than enough yarn (with leftovers!) in the 2 cowls that I made, and chances are that you have at least one yarn in your stash that coordinates with these packs in case you need a little more yardage to get to the last stitch.