I have noticed patterns recently where designers — doubling yarn up (Carbeth Kate Davies ) or combining yarns weights (Purl Solo) for projects. It is something I do often but customers seem very put off by the idea. Maybe it’s the chance of the two yarns separating or the whole idea doesn’t seem right — if you are a spinner you will know that most yarn is plyed – that is more that one thread is twisted together or onto itself to make the thicker yarn that we know and work with. The tighter the twist and the more threads in the bundle the better stitch definition you get when working, (this is why merino is popular as it can be made thinner and therefore more strands). There are a number of these types of yarn in the shop ready mixed.
I have a thick wooly cold weather jumper, I knit in 3 or 4 strands of leftovers of 4ply.
cold weather jumper
My current interest in marls began with the visit to John Arbon SunShine, Lollipops and John Arbon in the summer he had spun some fine DK yarns for the open day with colours and yarns from his range mixed together. I liked. The yarns like this are known as marl traditionally with a light and dark colour but these are 2 3 or 4 threads in different colours. I knitted a hat and mitts which are a current fav in one skein (dark purple-red in the picture) which is 3 dark colours together and I remembered messing with Cambrian colours into marls.
When knitting stradns together it works best in slightly grabby (haloed) yarns that stick together and wind them together. You will need to knit a tension square as a guide to how thick your joined up yarn is (2x 4ply together can knit as DK on 4 or 3.75mm, 2xDK will knit for me on 5mm if they are skinny and 6mm if they are plump (depends on the density of the fabric you want). You can also mix the weights eg an aran type with a DK and a 4ply or three of four strands of 4plys. Even 5 or six strands to get chunky. I use a ball winder and check the strands are twisting together. It doesn’t come apart as easily as they wind together so do some playing with small amount first. Once you have a fabric you like then look for patterns with that gauge.
All marls ‘pool’- as the thread twists as you knit and colours in the strand do not come to the front evenly so you get patches of colour, be aware that the colours will pool more if you knit 2 strands together than if they are spun. But I like that random break up of colours and it shouldn’t come into too big blocks.
I have since knit a cardigan (up and over) 5mm needles in DK (Cambrian Wool) gwynnon and shale together and the same pattern in red – WYS Gems in ruby and Woolyknit BFL in garnet. I am hooked I really like the dark shade of one colour and similar colours together. You get semi solid tone across the knitting especially from a distance.
Using 3 finer 4plys I made a vest. It used one strand each pale grey Welsh wool from my stash, 4ply slate from CMWools and a pale natural brown from Jamieson&Smith.
What else??? It’s great for stash busting you just need the yardage in all yarns for the thicker pattern ! And play …….