A Yarn Weight Key for Holding Two Strands Together

Holding two strands of yarn together can make some beautiful projects. I came across several blogs and lovely patterns on Ravelry which show some spectacular outcomes of holding two yarns of the same weight together.

I’ve got it in my head to do a gradient sweater with a set of Miss Babs Fingering Weight yarn and I’m not too keen on knitting it at a fingering weight. I once knit a sport weight and it took me over a year to complete it (of course not knitting monogamously).  And yet, patterns like the Happily Sweater by Katy Banks, the Progressive Pullover by Faina Goberstein and the Gradient Pullover by Amy Miller are calling my name!

     

I’ve been looking for a key to holding two strands together and couldn’t find a definitive source. This won’t be one either, as this is not an exact science. But after researching and testing I came up with what you could use as a good rule of thumb. After that, swatching should get you the rest of the way.

First to the Craft Yarn Council to get the “standard weight” categories, including a “new” knitted yarn weight called Jumbo—which I often get by hold three worsted weight strands together. The table below is a modified version of what you’ll find at their site. I encourage you to look there for the full table.

Category
Fingering 10-count thread
Sock, Fingering, Baby
Sport, Baby
DK, Light Worsted
Worsted, Afghan, Aran
Chunky, Craft, Rug
Super Bulky, Roving
Jumbo, Roving
Gauge Range Over 4”
33–40 stitches
27–32 stitches
23–26 stitches
21–24 stitches
16–20 stitches
12–15 stitches
7–11 stitches
6 stitches or less

In general, from standard yarn sources (e.g., Quince and Co, Lion Brand or Cascade Yarns, in general I find the following is true:

  • 2 strands of thread weight = Lace weight to fingering
  • 2 strands of lace weight = fingering to sock to sport weight
  • 2 strands of sock = sport weight to DK
  • 2 strands of sport = DK or light worsted
  • 2 strands of DK = Worsted or Aran
  • 2 strands of Worsted = Chunky
  • 2 strands of Aran = Chunky to Super Bulky
  • 2 strands of Chunky = Super bulky to Jumbo

Always check your gauge, since your mileage may vary. I’m selfishly sharing so I could put the list in a place I could find it. 😊

Maybe next time I’ll do some tests with mixed weights, since I do an awful lot of those combinations too. And after that maybe three strands.

Like so much with knitting, the possibilities are endless!

27 thoughts on “A Yarn Weight Key for Holding Two Strands Together

  1. Thank you so much for this handy key! It also should work in reverse for a number of patterns I have that call for knitting with multiple strands of yarn that’s a little (or a lot) outside my budget 😉

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  2. Thank you so much for your idea of doubling thinner yarn for patterns that call for thicker yarn. I am a beginner and get so confused. Marge

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  3. THANK YOU! I have a sweater pattern I want to knit, but I am unemployed and unable to purchase 8 skeins of chunky yarn that cost $26 each, but I have a stash of worsted weight yarn languishing in my stash. You have no idea how much this is appreciated! I would definitely be interested in your mixed weight experiments.

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  4. Excellent posting, thanks so much. I have lots of yarn in my stash…lots of fingering. I’ll try a marling two colors together and play.

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    1. I have been trying a few swatches and I can up with some beautiful results. I have also been experimenting with another technique I discovered on YouTube called Heliacal Knitting. It combines two or three different colors and becomes a stripe or a way to blend.

      Right now I am knitting with a double strand of lace weights that seem nice as a light worsted on US #7 ( my favorite size needle). It will be warm but not hot.

      Thanks for the inspiration!

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  5. I have lace weight yarn and the pattern calls for DK weight. I’m hoping that 3 strands will equal DK weight. Do you have a 3 strand chart for what it equals. I’m going to give it a try, I’ll let you know if it works.

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    1. That would be great! I was thinking about doing a 3-strand post and even a post on different weights held together–but just haven’t managed it. I’d love to see what you find out.

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      1. I have found that if you check the “mm” of the knitting needle and start with the same, or close, “mm” equivalent crochet hook it is usually correct. At least it works for my kitchen sets. I don’t do much in crochet, but me and my kids have this favorite potholder pattern that is crocheted using worsted weight cotton and an H (5.5mm) crochet hook. So, I thought, if I knit the hand towel ??? so I tried the size 9 (5.5mm) knitting needle. It worked! But, if you are doubling up to create a heavier yarn for a project there are a bunch of charts, including from the “Craft Yarn Council” that will give you yarn weight and needle/hook size info–go for the end product size of the doubled yarn. As you said, yarns aren’t an exact science, within a weight family some are lighter or heavier and I’ve had to “adjust” to get the fabric desired. Also I don’t always have access to or can afford yarns listed in patterns. So I have been keeping with the patterns worked info on the brand and type of yarn (weight, fiber, etc.) and what hook/needle I ultimately needed to get the gauge and/or desired fabric. If nothing else, I hope this gets you “in the ballpark” and helps you get started. I hate to swatch, but when “playing” with yarns those little swatches are less painful to redo and redo until you get what you are looking for. Good luck!

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  6. Hi! This is great! Thanks for the chart. Have you, perchance, a charge for mixed weights? I want to knit a laceweight mohair/silk yarn with a fingering or sport weight merino yarn but I do not know what yarn weight I will end up with. Thanks!

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    1. I haven’t, but it seems like a good thing to do. And it wouldn’t be too hard. I can just take the two strands together and see how they work against a single strand like I did with the doubling. Maybe I’ll get to that next month! I’m just buried right now!

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  7. Any thoughts on how to modify pattern after you double up? Specifically: I have a pattern that calls for fingering weight but I want to double it. I know how to check gauge, so is my only option to use a smaller needle to match gauge? And that way i’m still working the same # of stitches that pattern calls for? If that’s the only option then I probably WON’T double up (altho it would look beautiful) because I don’t want to have to knit on Size 1 needles! Do you think generally the heavier weight adds to length more than width of the stitches?

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    1. Doubling the weight would be the same as ising a yarn that is twice as thick. What you need to do is knit a guage swatch with the doubled yarn. When you know the gauge of your swatch you can then apply it to your desired measurements.

      I find it never exactly half the number of stitches, even when I use the called for yarn. But it will be far less than if you use a single strand and go much faster. The fabric will also be thicker, which I think of as a plus, not a minus.

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