How To Knit With Two Strands of Yarn: 5 Top Tips

Want to knit a project with two yarns held double but unsure of how best to do this? Maybe you’ve tried this technique before and not been happy with the results? Or perhaps you’re new to this way of knitting? Here’s 5 top tips to help you perfect double-strand knitting patterns.

  1. Unless you’re knitting with two identical strands of yarn, don’t pre-wind your yarn together into a ball. The two yarns will stretch at different rates and you’ll end up with an extra loop of the stretchier yarn, which will increase the changes of the yarns getting in a tangle. As a knitter you’ll know that this is something to avoid, especially if one of your yarns is a strand of brushed mohair!
  2. As you’re knitting, pause every so often to double check that you don’t have any stitches where the two strands have split (see photo above). Unless your yarns are identical, then this should be easy to spot. To fix it – drop down that particular column of stitches, pick-up the dropped strand and work the stitch back up. The fewer rows you have to drop down, the better, so keep double checking.
  3. Choose your needles carefully! You might find that sharper knitting needles are more likely to split the two strands of yarn. Try a blunter pair of needles, or experiment with different styles of needle to find the best fit for your yarn.
  4. Don’t worry too much if your two balls of yarn start to twist together as you’re knitting with them. If they get too twisted, it’s best to stop and untwist them. As all knitters know – a yarn tangle is to be avoided at all costs! You might try placing each ball in a separate ziplock bag or small project bag to try and minimise this.
  5. Working out the gauge or tension when using yarns held double can be confusing, especially if you’re knitting a pattern that’s not specially written for this technique. A good rule of thumb is to half the meterage of your yarn. For example, if you hold 2 lace-weight yarns together, each measuring 800m per 100g, then that would be equivalent to a yarn of 400m per 100g (a 4ply/fingering-weight yarn). Likewise, if you hold 2 strands of 4ply/fingering-weight yarn together, each measuring 400m per 100g together, that would be similar to holding 1 strand of a heavy double-knit/worsted-weight yarn (around 200g per 100g). Of course, the best way to work it out is to knit a swatch to check your tension and also whether you like the look and feel of the knitted fabric. For more information about this, check out this blog post from Orcas Island Knitting.

Looking for patterns with yarn held double? Check out my Loanin Shawl pattern and kits over in my Folksy store.

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