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News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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How to Pair Yarns to Create a Unique Look: A Personal Experience with Double Stranding

November 30th, 2012

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Brandyce and cowlI was recently trying to figure out how I can get through some of my yarn stash, and while thinking about stash busting, I was inspired by a new collection of yarns we received.  This inspiration came from Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in metallics. It seems that shimmer and sequins are trending this Fall/Winter season, and I wanted to add a sparkly piece of knitwear to my repertoire as well.

As much as I love the Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in metallics, I wanted a shimmery accessory in a lighter weight yarn so I could wear it during transitional times.  My “A-ha!” moment came when I came across the Moonstone shade of Vanna’s Glamour that was sitting in my bin, and the Fawn Heather shade of LB Collection Baby Alpaca; this combination was perfect!

I loved how the taupe-gray and silver Moonstone Vanna’s Glamour blended perfectly with the Natural Heather Baby Alpaca. Once I began knitting and seeing my fabric worked up, I knew I made the right decision.  All I had to do was think about what I wanted in my yarn, and create it myself. Double stranding yarns is so much fun. I like it because you increase the weight, so it works up faster, and you can create a more unique look!

*For the cowl, I cast on until my piece measured 6inches across, and knit flat in garter stitch until my Baby Alpaca was finished (but leave enough for seaming!).  Before seaming, I twisted my fabric to create a mobius effect.

Baby Alpaca and Vanna's Glamour strands LB Collection Baby Alpaca and Vanna's Glamour Cowl

Things to consider when pairing yarns:

  1. Color family: Do you want your colors to be complementary, or do you want contrasting colors? For more information on experimenting with color, check out this blog post by Jess on Color Theory Basics for Knitting and Crocheting.
  2. Yarn Weight: What are the weights of each individual yarn and how thick will that make your “strand”?  You will have to experiment to find the right needle or hook for your appropriate gauge.

How do you like to experiment with your yarn? Share your suggestions with us in the comments!

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  • Mindy

    I have made a few small projects by crocheting two strands of yarn together, and I really love the custom, personal look it adds to gifts. My biggest problem, however, is that the yarn gets so twisted up that it becomes hard to work with, and I end up spending more time untangling my yarn than I actually do crocheting. I’m left-handed- I don’t know if that has anything to do with it or not. Any tips or suggestions for how to minimize this?

    • Mintlatte

      I usually wind the yarns together first, it minimizes the twist and tangle effect :-) I have had no success with inside pull balls when doing this, but just winding both into a good old fashioned ball seems to work really well.

      • Brandyce

        Great tip mintlatte! Also, keeping the yarns in two separate bags helps. I don’t let the string extend too long from the ball either, I try to keep the strand as short as possible.

  • Cathy

    I use double stranding to use up sport weight yarn that someone gave me. My hands hurt too much using small needles and fine yarn, so I strand two colors of it together for dog sweaters and for hats and scarves. The small dogs love their sweaters and want to wear them all winter long. It has a tweedy effect without buying special yarn.

  • Dana Bincer

    I’ve double stranded to turn worsted into bulky…but always use the same color. I’m loving what you’ve put together, Brandyce! Now you’ve got me thinking! =) Love your project…I may have to copy it…hope you don’t mind! =)

    • Brandyce

      Thank you Dana! Of course I don’t mind, I’m happy to hear that you’ve been inspired :)

  • Linda

    Is this a simple garter stitch with a twist? About how many stitches should be cast on?

    • Brandyce

      Hi Linda, yes it is simple garter that I knit flat until I ran out of my full skein of Baby Alpaca. It measures a little less than 6 inches across with about 30 stitches. Before seaming, I twisted for a faux mobius effect!

  • Coral Bentley

    If you want to triple a single colour of yarn, try this: loosen a good-sized length of your yarn, perhaps 2 feet or so, and bring the far side to the start. You now have three strands of yarn. When you get to the end of the loop, pull your yarn through that loop and draw it through for again about a foot or two, smooth your yarns again, and continue. You can make multiple loops, just drawing more yarn through whenever you reach an end, and in this way use just one ball, and one end. It’s handy because you don’t have to guess how long a piece of yarn you might need to make that third strand, and if you judge reasonably well for your loop lengths you won’t have much waste at the end.

  • Lynda M O

    Hi, first time reading your blog, came via http://www.crochetconcupiscence.com and cannot resist sharing with you that I have been using two and three strands for years. I make Cozies for Water Bottles out of at least doubled yarn and most recently tripled up some really off-the-wall colors for warmth and to use up this yarn.

    I made an entire blanket (30 by 42 inches) out of double stranded, variegated yarn for my daughter’s baby. We lost our baby in March so I have put his blanket up for sale; it is several shades of beige and brown to blend in with dog hair that’s been shed !~!

    • Brandyce

      Hi Lynda, thanks for stopping by and sharing with us!

  • Jen

    Love doing this – it makes so much sense when you want to bulk up the yarn a bit and get projects finished quicker. This year I’ve needed to do some baby blankets for a pattern that called for Big Softy, but I wanted to use something a bit nicer than acrylic chunky yarn for special presents like this. A strand of kid silk mohair run with one of fine merino laceweight, and then two strands of very soft 4 ply acrylic creates a similar bulk that knits up quickly with a lovely halo and texture (especially using drop stitches within the pattern which lets you see the individual strands).

  • http://www.facebook.com/lynn.welborn.3 Lynn Kossoy Welborn

    Over the last several years or so, I only make scarves, shawls, pashminas etc. I now knit in multi colors, multi weights multi stitches and multi yarns – tending to buy on purpose like this.

    Even if you are knitting non free form, the pattern requires so many inches. What does it matter how many rows it takes? Now that I am writing, I wonder if I am a yarn shop’s worst nightmare? But then again, this is the reason I tend to buy in the sale or clearance cubbies & baskets. I understand the wierd looks I get when I buy 1-3 skeins of something just because….

    That said, some knitters are much more comfortable not straying too far. The great part about knitting: each to his/her own.

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