Sometimes when I have a knitting project in the queue but don't have the correct yarn for the job I'll resort to combining two strands of a fingering or lace weight yarn to arrive at an aran or DK weight. And I've seen other knitters knit with two strands to achieve a marled effect, too. Until recently I only ever did this out of pure necessity but the results have so many pros that I'm definitely going to take it into consideration when planning projects from now on.
Here's what I like about it:
- The yarns lay next to each other, so your gauge remains in tact but the fabric you knit is actually thinner than if you used a yarn that is as thick as it is wide (ie round). It's like knitting with tape yarn. And because the two strands move to wherever they fit the most comfortably the twists and turns that occur during knitting don't create as much bulk and dimension as a tape yarn would. I have found that I really appreciate this thinner fabric for a spring or summer knit like the Gemini I'm wearing under my cardigan in the photo above.
The biggest pro in my experience has been the drape of the fabric (ie. how it behaves and looks when it hangs or moves). I'm particularly happy with the drape in this Gemini shirt which is a result of my first point about achieving a thinner fabric. The drape that this Sweetgeorgia Silk Merino Lace achieves in a double strand is just killer! Definitely something to consider (ie swatch) if you're humming and hawing between a double stranded fingering vs single strand of DK or light worsted - or any substitution using this technique. I have to confess I'm more of a 'start knitting and see how it goes' kinda gal - but swatching is never a bad idea.
Lastly, if you're knitting with a hand dyed yarn you can knit with two stands of a finer yarn to arrive at a bulkier weight and avoid pooling by joining the two strands at different points in the colourway (Not to say there aren't ways to do this when knitting with a single strand.) Last month I test knit this Moonstone Cloche by Abbye Dhal in two strands of Malabrigo sock yarn. There are greens, reds and purples in this colourway and there was no pooling to be seen - although I was less on top of where the two strands joined when I picked up stitches for the crown.
Also, I suspect that there might be an economic benefit to knitting some yarns in this way in terms of gaining yardage or avoiding buying too many skeins ie. if you know you'll have half a skien left over when knitting your garment with a DK weight yarn you can eliminate the "waste" (I have so many unused half-skeins!!!) by buying one skein of fingering weight yarn to divide into two and knit in a double strand (instead of two full skeins).
Okay now for the CONS...
For me there is only one CON, but it is kind of a big one. I find that I have to really pay attention to make sure that I'm always knitting in both strands. A pointy knitting needle will help with this, but the knitting is a bit less mindless when knitting with a double strand. When I do miss a strand it appears as though there is a hole in my knitting and I end up having to 'repair' them with duplicate stitch if I don't catch them while I'm knitting. The duplicate stitch does the trick, though, so at least there's an alternative to frogging or dropping back to that stitch.
Okay, I lied! I have one more thing to add that might be considered a con. My one point against using a double strand for structural things like hats is that the thinner fabric may take away from the structure of it, which I did find with the crown of this cloche hat. The body of the hat is knit in linen stitch which is super dense due to all the slip stitches, so I did not find it made a fabric that is too floppy, but I could see that being the case for other hats in regular knit and purl stitches.
Do you ever knit in a double strand? What do you like/dislike about it?
I better get these toques blogged about before springtime deems them irrelevant - which I'd be happy about, honestly. Bring on the sunshine!
I'm on a major roll with my knitting right now. The problem is I keep knitting hats with the intention of saving them for gifts but end up wearing them. Sigh. That's the problem with knitting with gorgeous yarn, you just want to wear it. Not to mention these designs! These two goodies are by local designers Shannon Cook (bottom) and Megan Nodecker (top)
I knit Shannon's Dreieke hat in Maiwa's new line of natural yarns called Honest Yarn. This silk/wool blend is so soft! All the their yarns are either natural sheep colour (lot's of ready-to-dye whites) or dyed with natural dyes. I'm pretty stoked to have another naturally dyed yarn source close by. And Megan's Brookmere hat is knit up in Madelinetosh Tosh DK in the Candlewick colourway. I love both these patterns for their monochromatic graphic designs. A simple slouchy with some textural interest is my fave kind of toque.
For both these toques I cut up a vintage fur headband to make pompoms. I went a little overboard with the one on the Dreieke hat - I'm pretty sure it looks like I'm wearing a small animal up there. Eventually when I have time it is getting downgraded. I could easily make three smaller pompoms with the content of this one massive one.
I've got another hat on my needles as well as a couple baby pullovers. I'm so loving being on my knitting game again - it's testament to how much more relaxed I am living back home. I know people say knitting is relaxing, but I actually need to be in a relaxed state first to get into a knitting project. Can you relate?
Seriously?! Snow in March?! I don't think I've seen this much snow here since one winter in '99 or so, and that was the most snow I'd ever since in my lifetime here BC. This reoccurring snowfall over multiple months, and into March(!!), is just bazaar.
Anyways, I thought I'd pop in and share a bit of the March newsletter (below), since a monthly newsletter is new for us and you might not know what you're missing. Sign up for upcoming newsletters which includes my pick of the upcoming workshops in town, a rundown of what we're aware of events-wise for the next month or so, our featured Instagram and Pintrest posts, and a classifieds section.
March 1st, 2017,
After 10 months of small town living I'm finally settling into it. Hilariously, without even seeing the connection, this fall I decided to cozy up and begin binge-watching Gilmour Girls for the first time (I wanted to catch up and watch the new season along with everyone else). Turns out Stars Hollow is not unlike my own small town, so watching the hilarity ensue on Gilmour Girls definitely helped me navigate and appreciate life in the boonies of the Sunshine Coast. So far my favourite personal small-town story is when Santa Claus made an appearance on Halloween night, gave my son a bucket of candy and then proceeded to the bonfire to smoke a fat joint, lol.
Actually, amazing moments occur on the regular to the point now where when they happen I secretly sing the Gilmour Girls' 'lah lah la-la-la lah lah lah', How To Dream score in my head (and have seriously considered starting an Instagram Story series inspired by that personal ritual). Even as I write I'm sitting in my local cafe semi-enjoying the sounds of a local base player jamming over a drum machine because (and I only just discovered this) Thursday afternoon jam is about to commence. So awesome. But okay, where am I going to work now? This is the only decent cafe around.
This month I have two finished objects off my knitting needles. My Tin Can Knits Flax Light pullover in infant size (above), and Shannon Cook's Deiecke hat in Maiwa's new silk/wool worsted weight yarn. Did you know thatMaiwa is making their own naturally dyed yarns now? I'll be posting on the blog about it soon.
Last week I said hello in a studio visit podcast-style video over on the Mirrix blog where I share a bit about mine and Katie Earle's project Everlea Textiles, as well as what's on my tapestry loom and why I'm weaving my next tapestry sideways.
Vancouver is rocking it in this new book, Garter Stitch Revival by Interweave Press. It includes an adorable flapper-style hat by local designer Megan Nodecker, a pair of mitts knit up in Sweetgeorgia Yarns an oversized cowl as well as a gorgeous long cardigan by Holli Yeoh, who also writes the forward. The book is on its way to me and I can't wait to knit up Megan's hat in an emerald green for my sister-in-law's September birthday (planning on getting all my gift knitting done early this year!)
Also, the awesome Tin Can Knits ladies organised the release of an 8 pattern collection called Heart on my Sleeve, by themselves and 7 other designers including Canadian designers Shannon Cook, Tanis Lavallee and Jane Richmond. It's $18 and 100% of the profit goes to the Against Malaria Foundation. How amazing is that?!
oh, and I have to mention that I laughed my butt off reading this summertime blog post by former Baaad Anna's owner, Anna Hunter's husband about the escape of their new Llama from their new farm in Manitoba.
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Hi, I'm Janna. I'm a tapestry weaver, longtime knitter, 2013 graduate of Concordia University's Fibres and Material Practices program, and founder of Everlea Yarn. In my art practice I combine textiles and socially engaged media. Here on the VY blog I mostly share my knits, local events and about other local artists and crafters.