A Helpful Hint
So you’ve got your needles, got a pattern but the wool you have in stock and would like to use is the wrong weight. I should clarify for the less experienced amongst us that when I say weight, I don't mean the weight of the ball of wool, but instead it is the thickness of the yarn. Some is really thin, some is thick and some is mega thick. Choosing the right weight for your project needn’t be a complicated matter and you shouldn’t feel that you are limited to the yarn used in the pattern.
So what to do?
I love to mix and match different yarns and so thought it might be helpful to show you how you can use up your stash. Many times in the past I have agonised over the weight of yarns to use, or I have found a fabulous colourway but not in the weight I want. Well not anymore, and I hope this helpful hint will help you see your yarn choices in a whole different light
The beauty of yarn is that it is very versatile. We can literally turn thin into thick without needing to do anything more complicated than the pattern asks for, and it really is as easy as 1.......2......3........ Intrigued? Then read on.
The method I use I call 'doubling' and 'trebling'. This isn't a new concept in the yarn artists world and is something that I picked up quite by accident and, it was only after a lovely lady asked me to stock more chunky yarns in my store (which I am of course doing) that I thought I would share my knowledge and experience as a 'helpful hint' for newcomers and anyone else with an interest in yarns.
I have taken three types of yarn, a thread-weight, DK and chunky, and by simply doubling up (knitting with two strands) or even trebling up (three strands) I have been able to turn my yarn into a completely different weight. I can now use my DK for a big thick jumper, my cotton for hat and my chunky for a mega blanket. It's really simple and surprisingly, the yarn doesn't get tangled, especially when you have three balls on the go!
For each yarn I have knitted a 10 stitch x 10 row swatch three times and you can see the results below
To show you exactly what I mean I thought it would be useful to have this visual representation and so I have photographed the swatches that I made so you can see the difference in stitch and size. The smallest of each of the swatches has been knit with the recommended needle size for the single strand. The middle sized swatch is knitted with two strands of yarn held together, and the largest of the swatches is made with three strands of yarn held together.
THREAD to CHUNKY
Thread weight is a thin yarn generally used for crochet. I have used here the gorgeous Scarlett 100% cotton thread with a recommended needle size 3. Fyi, 100% cotton, unlike most yarns, doesn’t have any elasticity and can be more tricky to maintain the tension when knitting. At the end of this experiment I had upped the needle size from 3mm to a chunky 9mm
The finished sizes of the swatches were:
9mm needles with three strands = 7cm x 7cm
6mm needles with two strands = 5.5cm x 5.5cm
3mm Needles with one strand = 3.5cm x 3.5cm
DK WEIGHT to SUPER CHUNKY
For this part of the demo I used Cygnet's Glittery DK yarn. DK weight is a popular yarn and simply means Double Knit. The yarn is lightweight and generally used for summer knits, children’s garments and accessories. By simply doubling and treblingI was able to increase the needle size from the recommended 4mm up to a super chunky 10mm
10mm needles with three strands = 10cm x 10cm
7mm needles with two strands = 6.5cm x 6.5cm
4.5mm needles with one strand = 4.5cm x 4.5cm
CHUNKY WEIGHT to MEGA CHUNKY
For this third and final demo I used the popular Cygnet Chunky yarn. Chunky yarn is a firm favourite with many knitters as it is quick to knit and can be used for most projects. The recommended needle size for this chunky yarn is 6mm-7mm. In this project I have increased the needle size to a whopping 15mm.
15mm with three strands = 11.5cm x 11.5cm
10mm with two strands = 9cm x 9cm
6mm with one strand = 6cm x 6cm
So there you have it! Using just three yarn types I have managed to create 9 variations in size in just 1,2,3. I know that there are endless possibilities and I hope you too will have some fun experimenting with your favourite yarns. Although I will add that it is important to check the tension for all your patterns before starting a new project!
'That's all very well but what about the cost?' I hear you say. Well here's the really good bit. When you buy any yarn the length will be clearly displayed on the ball - usually in yards and meters. So if you compare the meterage per ball and do a little maths you will see that the price is generally the same and sometimes even a little cheaper!
The upside of this is that I can now use my favourite yarn for a whole host of new patterns. The downside is that ……….. oh wait, there is no downside!
Now, to turn a thick yarn into a thin yarn will need either a magician’s wand or, spend many, many hours un-twisting the strands. In that situation I would just buy more yarn!
I hope that this has been a helpful hint!
Happy knitting all and please show us your makes 😊
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