Thursday, January 28, 2016

Today's Tip: Double your Yarn, Double Your Fun!

Why Double Your Yarn?

Have lots of fingering weight stash, but want to knit warm cozy hats? Read on for a solution!

Sometimes you may want to knit a piece that calls for a heavier yarn than what you  may have on hand. Or perhaps you have lots of stash of beautiful lightweight yarn that you want to use, but it’s not right for the pattern you want to make.

For example, I got it into my head to make cozy slippers for my grandkids, son, and daughter-in-law, after seeing a cute pattern, and I wanted to make them out of bulky yarn.

Surprise, out of all the hundreds of yarns in my stash, there is very little in bulky weight. It’s about two-thirds fingering weight. Probably because, living in California, I have no need for heavy knits.
So I did some research to find out more about doubling up yarn so that you can use lighter weights of yarn to substitute for a heavier yarn.

This is what I found. Remember it's always wise to make a gauge swatch, because even among several fingering weight or sport weight yarns, there is some variation. They're not all the same. 

But having said that, there are some guidelines.
The following are approximate; however, as with all substitutions, you should check to make sure you're happy with the gauge. 
First Method 
Proceed as follows:
2 strands fingering = one strand sport weight
2 strands sport = one strand worsted weight
2 strands DK = one strand bulky
2 strands worsted = one strand bulky to super bulky weight*
*2 strands of a lighter worsted yarn held together may approximate the thickness of a chunky or bulky yarn, while 2 strands of a heavier worsted weight yarn held together may come close to the thickness of a super bulky yarn.

Second Method
You can also use a simple calculation:
Take the regular gauge of a yarn, e.g. 7 sts per inch or 28 sts for 4 inches for a heavy-ish sock yarn and multiply it by 70% (or 0.7).
7 sts per inch x 0.7 = 4.9 sts per inch
This will give you an approximate idea of the gauge you can achieve when doubling the yarn up.  So if you hold 2 sock-weight yarns together, you will be able to get a gauge of 4.5 to 5 sts per inch or 18-20 sts for 4 inches. 

Just remember it's always a good idea to do a gauge swatch. Not only to see if the gauge comes out right, but to check that you like the look of the fabric: not too stiff, not too drapey for your purposes. We don't want winter hats with huge holes in them, or sweaters so stiff they stand up by themselves!

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P.S. Here is some pretty yarn to look at, from The Flying Kettle yarns.

Sources: Lion Brand website, TinCanKnits blog 

New Projects

Here is one of my new designs. The Contender Hat is a cozy cabled hat that can be made in a masculine color to suit one of the men in your life, or can be knitted just for you!  It needs just one skein of 100g of DK weight yarn. It was featured in the 2015 Men in Knitwear Calendar.

Mr September is a knockout. To keep warm during training sessions he sports a handsome hat featuring an unusual garter cable on a background of cushy warm garter stitch.
The ribbed border is long enough to be turned up for extra w

The hat can be made in a slouchy style if desired.
Pattern is both written and charted and has been professionally tech-edited, for a more pleasant knitting experience. 

More of my designs can be found HERE, if you're looking for something to knit with your doubled yarn. :-)

Current Knitting 

I'm working on a new design - here's a sneak peek.
This is the same yarn you see above in the 2 yarn cakes. Isn't it pretty?
It's going to be on display at Stitches West (Santa Clara Convention Center Feb. 19-21, 2016) at The Altered Stitch booth. Come and see it!


  1. Thank you for this great tip. Resently I was wondering, if two lace yarns will give fingering yarn.
    Now you did not mention lace - Do you think, that would work too?

    1. I think it would; except if it has a lot of halo (like a mohair blend).
      Thanks for your comment!