Sunday, May 18, 2014

If you're having trouble knitting with multistrand yarn

I virtually never have problems knitting with multistrand yarn.  Crocheting, yes.  Weaving, a little.  

But knitting with it is easy for me... unless one or two strands are chenille. 
Azalea is for sale in my Etsy shop.  See links to the far right.
Chenille has a tendency to stretch and sometimes you have to wrap the chenille strand around the needle twice.  Or tie up some slack every ten rows. 

But let's back up a moment.  If you are a rank beginner, I recommend getting comfortable with a single strand of yarn first.  Then two strands on fairly large needles.  Then two strands on slightly smaller needles.  Then three strands.  I have had a couple of customers write to me and say, "I can't get the hang of this!" But only a couple of people have said this since I opened Life's an Expedition in 2003.  Virtually everyone DOES get the hang of it. It does take practice.  The fewer the strands and the larger the needles and the simpler the pattern, the easier it will be. But I have one customer who is a huge fan of entrelac using many strands of my yarn. 
Monaco is also in my Etsy shop.


Your biggest challenge with multistrand yarn will be to knit each stitch in its entirety, without dropping part of it. But if you get two of the strands and drop the rest, the piece will NOT unravel and with all those colors going on, your mistakes will be less noticeable. In some ways, it's easier than single strand knitting, in which every stitch counts and every mistake shows.  Since I hate to frog, I really like this feature of multistrand knitting.  People who are more anal will have more trouble taking a casual attitude to their work.  Especially if their work requires attention to tiny details, as in a pair of intricate socks.


A second problem
you may encounter when you're using multiple strands is that one strand will sometimes be stretched out or seem "longer" than the others as you work your project. (I mentioned this a moment ago.  It tends to happen with chenille.)   If you reach the end of a row--that is, on a seam--and your piece has a right side and a wrong side, go ahead and tie up the slack on the pesky strand that is too long. Then when you sew up the seams, you can incorporate the slack into the seam. 
This is Cabana.

OR if you are making a blanket or something on which there is no seam and/or both sides will be seen, you can loop the "longer" strand around the needle a second time as often as needed to make it catch up with the strands. 

I have created yarns in which I never had to do this at all, but sooner or later, most multi-strand knitters face the problem of uneven strands. 

Multi-strand knitting is easiest when you are doing a straight garter or stockinette with minimal increases, decreases or shaping.

dj runnels

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