How to knit or crochet with yarn held double
Sometimes your pattern tells you to knit or crochet with yarn held double. It’s not that obvious what that means. But don’t worry, it’s not hard at all!
All you have to do is hold TWO strands of yarn together and treat them as a single strand.
You hold them the same way you always hold your yarn and knit or crochet with them as if they where one strand.
Understanding yarn weight and how you can combine yarn strands to convert between weights makes it easier to substitute yarns for patterns.
For example, if your pattern calls for a year held double you can figure out which weights that equals and now you have much more to choose from. Or vice versa, you find a pattern that calls for a thicker yarn but you don’t have any, you can calculate how to combine two thinner strands to get the right weight.
Don’t worry, I will provide you with both a cheat sheet for yarn weights and a sizing table for combining yarn strands further down!
Why designers make knitting or crochet patterns with yarn held double
When you use two strands of yarn at the same time that equals knitting or crocheting with a thicker yarn aka a heavier yarn weight. But, you might think, why not use a thicker yarn?
The reasons for designing a pattern with yarn held double varies, but one is that the fabric created is more dense and squishy.
Other reasons may be to mix two different yarns for a nice texture or to get a marled effect by mixing two colors.
Blending two different yarn fibers is quite common, for example, adding a strand of a fluffy yarn like mohair to a woollen yarn.
You can learn more about yarn weights and how to convert yarn weights between different weight systems here. (psst! there’s a freebie to help you!)
Knitting or crocheting with two yarns instead of one thicker yarn
Maybe you want to knit or crochet a certain pattern but can’t find a yarn or shade you like in that particular yarn weight.
In this case you could combine two strands of one or two finer yarn in a fiber/shade/texture you like and still have the right gauge for the pattern.
This method is a bit ruff and you may need to play around a bit with hooks or needles to get the right gauge, just like you would with a single strand of yarn.
Be aware that two yarn strands held together may not look or feel exactly like working with one that was produced in that weight to begin with. It may be flatter, or thicker and more dense all depending on things like how it’s spun, the fibers and how much air get’s caught between the fibers. To avoid surprises, make a swatch!
How to translate yarn weights
It may be obvious that holding two strands of yarn together will result in yarn twice as thick as the original, but it’s not that obvious what yarn weight that will translate too.
This can be done in three simple steps:
- Look up the meterage or yardage of your yarn per 100g
- Divide that number by two, as you’re using two strands at the same time 100g will equal half the length of yarn.
- Look up which yarn weight your number translates to in the yarn weight cheat sheet found in this post.
Two strands of a yarn which is 400m per 100g will give a meterage of 200m per 100g. A quick look in the cheat sheet (mentioned above) let us know that’s the meterage of a DK weight yarn.
If you don’t want to do the maths, use the table further down!
Sizing table for combining yarn weights
This table shows how to combine thinner yarns to equal a thicker yarn. In the left column you see the thinner yarn weights and in the right column the thicker. 2 strands of the left yarn weight equals 1 strand of the right yarn weight.
For example, two strands of sport/DK equals one strand of worsted/aran yarn
I haven’t included the largest yarn weights in the table because these yarns tend to vary so much in thickness that the method doesn’t work as well. For these thicker yarns you just have to do some testing!
|2 strands of this weight equal…||1 strand of this weight|
|Lace (0)||Fingering (1)|
|Fingering (1)||Sport/DK (2–3)|
|Sport/DK (2–3)||Worsted/Aran (4)|
|Worsted/Aran (4)||Bulky/Chunky (5)|
|Bulky/Chunky (5)||Super Bulky (6)|
How to double yarn with one skein
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The easiest way to knit or crochet with double yarn from one skein of yarn is to wind it into a center-pull ball and then pull the yarn both from the inside and the outside.
This video from New Stitch a Day: Knitting and Crochet video tutorials shows you how to make a center-pull ball using a very thick knitting needle, a toilet roll, or just your fingers!