This is why the previous name of this technique was called Argyle Crochet. I was first introduced to this technique years ago from the book Crochet Dynamite: Argyle Crochet by Jaime Eads Maraia (2013). I purchased it from Amazon, through the kindle store. In her book, she outlines the technique of purposely crocheting tighter or looser in order to get the correct color portion of the multi-colored yarn in the correct place. Here is a picture of my original swatch done from her book:
She used single crochet stitches, and it was really fiddly and difficult to get the colors to line up where you wanted them to. This technique was originally invented/used in knitting, which is where Jaime got her idea I believe. Then, in the last year or so, it came roaring back into fashion using the moss stitch instead of the single crochet stitch. The first picture posted above is the swatch I made using the moss stitch.
Now hopefully, you can see the improvement in the technique. Lines are crisper, and the argyle is more pronounced. In addition, technique-wise, it's way easier and faster to do. The moss stitch is comprised of a single crochet stitch followed by a chain, and then repeated across the row. On the way back, you place your single crochet stitches in the space created by the chain you made on the row below. The stitches themselves are off-set, instead of on top of each other.
What makes it faster and easier is the chain space between each stitch. To make the stitches line up where they need to be, I can make that chain tighter or loser. It really helps combat the issue of not all sections of color being the same length as its previous instance. For example, when I first hit yellow, it might be 4 " long. Then when I hit it again, it might be 4.25" long. That may not seem like much, but it can really mess up what you are going for in this technique. And, doing a chain stitch is faster than doing a single crochet stitch, so you are doing 1 single crochet stitch in moss stitch for every two single crochet stitches in the original Argyle technique.
I really enjoy doing this version of planned pooling, and now I am not so intimidated by imagining doing a whole blanket with this technique. You should know, that not every variegated yarn is appropriate for planned pooling. For example, Red Heart in Monet
is not appropriate because the color changes happen every inch or two, and a single crochet stitch requires that much alone. So you'd have at most, one single crochet stitch in each color. Not to mention the fact that these fast changing colored yarns also do not change color consistently. So it may go, blue teal green tan, then teal green blue tan, and so on.
Planned pooling requires that you have enough of each color to do more than one stitch, and that they repeat exactly the same throughout the skein. The color I used above in the first two pictures is Red Heart Mexicana. Next I have Caron Sayelle in Indian Summer Ombre:
Then I have Red Heart in Ocean:
And Caron in Country Basket Ombre:
You may recognize the last one as the same yarn I used for the ribbed ripple class I taught:
Same colorway, different dye lots. While this color looked interesting in the ribbed ripple, it looks outright fantastic in planned pooling. Since I only had one skein left of this yarn, I opted to turn it into an infinity scarf (completed in a few hours):
See? Fantastic. This is the stitch it was made for. If you are interested in planned pooling, I recommend Marley Bird's repository of planned pooling tutorials found here. She is a big name in crochet, who really helped push planned pooling into crochet fame.
Hug some yarn for me!