A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post all about the basics of double-stranding (if you are brand new to this idea/technique, I highly recommend checking it out!). I dove a bit deeper into this technique recently, including creating a new video tutorial that talks about the two main types of double-stranding you often see as well as showing a demo of how I cast-on and knit when double-stranding. I also have a new pattern that’s a perfect way to practice this technique!
Double-Stranding: For Thicker Fabric or Visual Affect (or both!)
Double-stranding can be multi-purpose. Sometimes a pattern may call for double-stranding a lace-weight mohair with a heavier-weight yarn (or you may choose to do this yourself) and by doing so, you create an interesting visual affect (plus some fuzzy texture!). But because the mohair is lace-weight and so thin, it often doesn’t affect the gauge dramatically. Below is an example of this!
But some patterns call for double-stranding two like-weights together in order to create a thicker fabric. For example, when you double-strand two sport-weight strands together you get a fabric and gauge in the worsted-weight realm. When you double-strand for this purpose, you can also use different color strands to create a marled affect, so the visual affect options are limitless! Below I’ve provided some examples for inspiration…
When you double-strand, there are SO many creative options. You can use colors that are just slightly different for a more subtle affect, use very contrasting colors for some drama, or even use a striping or variegated color with a solid for a super pretty (and often surprising) combo. Let me show you some examples!
Using different shades of similar colorways
I recently released a new pattern tailored specifically for double-stranding newbies – Cloud Illusions. This is a great way to practice the technique and play with different color combinations. You need two colors of sport-weight yarn and I used Manos del Uruguay’s Serena, a beautiful alpaca/cotton blend perfect for the warmer months (and oh my gosh it’s SO soft).
As you can see from the pictures above, the colorways I chose are not too too contrasting – one is a pale pink and the other I’d call a mauve with pink undertones. It’s enough of a contrast that you can see the marled affect, but they are close enough that it’s not too dramatic (and often it just depends on the angle and light it’s in). If you like this idea and want to use the same yarn, below are some other color pairing ideas:
Using a variegated with a solid
I wanted to see what two sport-weights would look like if one was a variegated and one was a solid. I used Malabrigo Arroyo, in the multi-color Arco Iris and the semi-solid Sandbank:
I love the look of this! You never quite know what to expect when you combine yarns like this but that can be half the fun – the element of surprise!
Using Self-Striping with a Solid
Another fun combo is working self-striping yarn with a solid color. Here’s a great example of this…
The yarn shop Coastal Purl in Elizabeth City, North Carolina has had several customers knit my Brookdale vest. But instead of using a single-strand of heavy worsted/aran-weight yarn like the pattern calls for, they used two strands of sport-weight yarn! And, because they are in North Carolina, they used 2 non-wool cotton blend yarns that would work well in their warmer climate – Berroco’s Remix Light (a solid) and Berroco’s Summer Sesame (self-striping). Below is a photo shared with me from Coastal Purl of knitters Peggy & Becky modeling their finished Brookdale vest’s using these two yarns together!
How beautiful and creative are these vests?! I would never have though to double-strand a solid and self-striping yarn for this vest but I absolutely love it. A special thank you to Coastal Purl, Peggy and Becky for allowing me to share their great photo here!
I happened to have a skein of Remix Light and Summer Sesame in my stash and so I did a little swatch on a US 8 (same needle size as I use in the pattern) – and sure enough, I got perfect gauge for my Brookdale vest! So I’m thinking of making another in this yarn (for a more summer-friendly option) and maybe doing a knitalong for it as well!
To learn more about everything I mentioned in the blog post as well as to watch how I cast-on and knit when double-stranding, check out my new video below!
I hope seeing this new video and these examples have inspired you to want to give double-stranding a try! The key with it is experimenting, including swatching with different knitting sizes too. This is why a simple cowl is a great way to start – check out my new Cloud Illusions pattern if you’d like to give this technique a try. Also, my friend Heather of Ewe Ewe Yarns just came out with a new double-stranded hat pattern and kit – the Blustery Beanie Yarn Kit. It’s another great option for beginners, and Heather has already put together some great color combos for you to try!