I go through phases with variegated yarns - sometimes I love multi-coloured combinations and seeing how the colours fall in the fabric - and sometimes I only want to work in solid colours.
Recently I've been falling for a lot of variegated skeins and sorting through them for some planned projects, I was reminded of the importance of winding the yarn in to balls or cakes before you make final decisions.
Depending on how the yarn has been skeined, winding it into a ball can change your perception of how the colours may play out in your project.
In the first set of pictures (all yarns from The Knitting Goddess), there isn't a major difference between the skeins and the balls.
However, in the second set there are major differences in the before and afters.
If anything the colours in the top yarn - Handmaiden Fine Yarn Sea Lace - blend more in the ball than on the skein. Whereas in yarns two - Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock - and three - Third Vault Yarns Tesseract - the wound yarn gives a very different idea of the relationship between the colours and helps me understand how they might play out in a project.
Swatching could also help you see how the colours relate but remember changing the number of stitches will change how the colours fall.
Looking at these last two balls, I'm thinking of quite lacy patterns with air to separate the striking colours such as in these patterns.