Double Vision

September 30, 2020

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39 Comments
  • Thank you SO much Jillian!! I love learning about how different yarn constructions affect how my knitted fabric behaves. Reading your essays is like color commentary in sports, but for swatching!

    • Jillian, thank you for the timely article. On my needles is a project that I call my sock monkey blanket. It is a 2 x 2 rib in cream and red stripes at top and will be the same at the bottom and the body is a medium dark grey. To get the effect I wanted I doubled up the stands of Pattons super wash wool. It took some fiddling before I found the right needle size to give me the texture and guage I wanted. I really wish I had seen your article before I had started knitting this as your tips would have been handy. Thanks for the great read.

  • Thanks for the earworm! Now I can’t focus on reading the rest of your post:-)

  • Helpful guidance regarding needle size selection when doubling yarns. However your formula only works when using the American needle sizing. Clarification that it doesn’t work for metric would be helpful for those of us who use metric sizing.

    • She did include that in this article. She wrote, (this doesn’t work out as neatly using mm needle sizes)

      • Could have made it clear; sounded like a vague suggestion.

        • Agreed. I wasted a couple of minutes trying to make something out of this in metric and and it’s not just not neat, it’s impossible. I presume US sizing is on a geometric progression or something? However I did find a spreadsheet formula which produces a predictable output at least for metric.=((A28+B28)/2)*1.5 {where A28 is the needle size for yarn 1 and B28 is the needle size for yarn 2}. It was suggested to multiply by 1.5 or 2. I haven’t tried it out on real yarn yet.

    • I can second the fact that she did mention this in the article. Also, you can find needle size conversion charts on the Internet to use as reference if you want to try this method for choosing your needles. I got my conversion chart as part of my course materials for a Craftsy class, but I’m sure they’re not difficult to find.

      • I agree. It is clearly stated—what more is there to say beyond “this doesn’t work out…”? Also her examples are using US sizes. I personally go by mm sizes when I think about my needles BUT it’s no trouble at all to learn the US sizes—on a needle gauge, or online, or maybe even on the needle (or needle package) itself. (No idea why readers feel the need to nit pick in this way!)

        • Great comment on today’s world. I am surprised they didn’t ask for her to be fired.

  • Love the article particularly about needle sizing when doubling yarn; ever so helpful!!

  • Again a beautiful masterly and fun stroll along yarn construction. I was never interested in plying yarn- what you did with Oliver makes me want to give it a twirl.

  • Great article!

  • What great information. Can’t wait to do some double yarn knitting. Wait, I’m currently doing some.

  • Very helpful, thank you! I will definitely be trying this. I love color and color combinations, and I like even my “solid” colors to have subtle variation. It’s just more interesting! This opens up a lot of possibilities, especially if you’re not finding a yarn you like in the right weight.

  • Thank you for the video link. That HAIR!

  • How do you wind two hanks together? Do you put both on the swift at the same time? Also if you are using an inside and outside end do you hand wind those together?

    • Since she’s a spinner, she’s probably winding the hanks onto 2 bobbins so she can put them under tension using her lazy Kate and then winding them into a big cake. The non-spinner version is to wind them into separate yarn cakes, make a diy lazy Kate out of a shoe box or 2 yarn bowls, so they don’t get tangled, then wind them on to a ball winder or hand wind them if they are too big for the winder.

      • Great idea!

      • Years ago, I used to wind multiple strands together, thinking it would be easier to work from one large ball than several smaller ones.
        NOT! Inevitably, one yarn strand would develop a long loop because it was somehow stretchier than the others. I dealt with it by folding it along the yarn and working it tripled for a few stitches, but doing so every so often was irksome.
        I thought the problem was caused by hand winding, so I got a ball winder. No difference. I still use multiple yarns together, bur each its separate ball – in a baggie or other container. No more loose loops!

      • Thanks for this insight! I have liked winding into one doubled ball (rather than working from two separate balls) and it has resulted in fewer tangles, but I’ve only ever wound fairly short skeins this way (like, worsted weight yarn in a 100 gram skein put up). I have a project in mind using hanks of fingering doubled, but wasn’t sure what the easiest way would be. Tempted to buy a second swift! Lol

  • Some time ago there was a discussion about choosing which color of the fluffy yarn to use with a smoother yarn. It Compared Darker fluffy v. Lighter fluffy. Can anyone direct me to that post?

  • I was just about to start swatching Gleem with a yarn similar to Cumulus. Now I have a better idea about needle size to start with. Thanks so much.

  • Does the fact that you’re getting a bigger gauge balance the fact that you’re buying twice as much yarn?

    • Depends on how you look at it, I think. I just bought some worsted weight and some fingering weight from the same company—the skeins are the same price and weight (4 oz), but that also means the fingering weight is more than twice as much yardage. In other words, the price on the lighter weight yarn is less than half as much per yard!

  • I love this! I have put together, ‘made do’, combined yarn, etc to get the right weight/color as long as I have knitted! Sixty years ago I was told by a ‘proper knitter’ that if I could use yarn correctly, that I should not knit (we were in a church knitting group and I did not go back, but continued my improper work at home) now it is a trend! Thank you for your wonderful research and tips! I always learn a lot at MDK!

    • Oh wow! Glad you didnt listen to those yarn police

  • Thanks for all the information! I’m starting to use some of my wool yarn stash in rug hooking, my new sport.
    Winding them together should really help the strands stay on the hook better. Plus I think a marled background could be really different. Or a person could use a punch-needle…..

  • Hi, I tried to follow the directions to save an article but found a problem in that to the left of the article there is no “book mark” to save the article, there is a mail, a Facebook and another one but no book mark. What am I doing wrong?

    • It may depend on how you receive your articles. I receive mine in a news aggregator (Feedly) so I do not stay logged into my MDK account. If you are not logged in, you won’t get the bookmark. You can log in by clicking the person icon in the upper right hand corner, then you will be able to save. Hope this works. Not sure this is the answer for you, but it works for me.

    • You must have an account at MDK and be logged on to save an article otherwise it doesn’t know who you are to save it

  • Thank you, Jillian! Just what I needed!

  • This may be a silly question but…is the ball band gauge determined to be the best look and drape for that yarn? I always wonder, when I deviate needle sizes from that, in what ways I am not using the yarn to it’s best potential.

  • One of my favorite techniques uses 2 hand painted yarns or a hand painted and a solid yarn together. A favorite yarn, long discontinued, had 3 varicolored yarns. It made sweaters that went with everything.

  • Any chance we can get the save banner on this article?? Thank you!

  • Am I the only one pining for Le Gran?

  • As someone who doesn’t spin*, I have wondered about purchasing an “e-spinner” purely for plying.

    * Not yet, anyway.

  • Brilliant as always. I have often thought how much tidier it would be if I just plied the two together. Fearless warrior that you are , you have done it and survived. Brilliant.