Two at A Time- Double Up that Yarn

Thinking back I can remember it intimidating me the first time I tried it, but now it seems like nothing out of the ordinary. Using two strands of yarn, or more, at the same time now gives me no second thoughts.

This practice of crocheting with more than one strand of yarn yields some really nice results. I may not use it all that often, but I like the look it creates an almost speckled effect. In some cases it helps two bold colors blend together.

The best tip I can share is to simply treat the two (or multiple) strands as one. Hold them together as one, not worrying about if the colors twist together in your hand. This twist will lend to the effect. When you yarn over and pull your hook, use all the strands, really just treat them as one. After a short time it is easy to get into this rhythm, so don’t be afraid to treat it as such.

It does have some tendencies that can be a bit annoying, for instance keeping equal tension on two yarns can be challenging. This becomes a bit more obvious when I begin one yarn from a new center pull skein, and the other has been worked from a bit already. The new skein is tighter to pull from and this makes it a little awkward to ensure that I keep both strands under an equal tension. I personally correct this by pulling more yarn out of the new skein to more equally match the pull of the second skein.

If I am using two yarns that are wound into balls the challenge becomes keeping them from rolling all over the place and becoming tangled together. There are a couple of tips to deal with this annoyance, I use two different yarn bowls that “trap” the balls and prevents them from “free rolling”.

Another thing to keep in mind about using more than one strand of yarn is that the weight changes. It is not like adding the two weights together will double the weight or anything. By using two medium weight (number 4 weight) yarns does not create a super bulky or a number 8 weight yarn, but it does make a heavier weight, but more like a Bulky (number 6 weight) yarn. As a result you need to use a larger hook. Check out a Beyond Basics Hat, using two strands of baby yarn to create a fun hat here.

By ensuring that you have a proper size hook to accommodate both yarns you also ensure that the fabric has the drape you desire. Just as any project if you want a dense fabric use a smaller hook, if you want a more fluid fabric use a larger hook.

However I usually use yarns of differing weight together, I might accent a medium weight yarn with a light or even lace weight yarn. I might use a completely different fiber, might match a wool with a silk, an acrylic with a mohair, a cotton with an alpaca. The yarns provide a different texture, a different sheen, often a different color, but they always provide something amazing to look at.

Pechin is a New Classic- A Great Shawl

There are a couple of stitches that always seem to make their way into my work. I find that I create multiple projects using them, and still I never tire of working them. My latest design from Manos del Uruguay and Fairmount Fibers, Pechin, falls into this category.

This shawl is worked from the center of the neck outward, utilizing a simple chain and single crochet combination. I find that this stitch allows that yarn to really be the feature. It creates a light, airy fabric that embodies the yarn to go as far as it can. By this I mean that you can go a long way with just one skein. As an example, Pechin is only a 2 skein shawl (using Manos del Uruguay Milo), and a really good sized shawl at that.

For Pechin, I broke up the chain stitch pattern with bands of shells. This creates a visual break as well as a bit of dimension. The bands gradually space further apart in this design to help keep the flow balanced, and I feel it helps give a really classic look.

I have to admit, I could work this shawl over and over again. The stitch pattern has a nice rhythm, and just enough details, at just the right time, to keep it from getting boring. I also feel that it really has a beautiful balance between the design and the yarn, they feel at harmony with one another as neither over powers the other.

Okay, that might seem a bit wordy or dramatic, but what I mean is that it is a pattern/design in which you can appreciate both the yarn and the design at the same time. I have spoken in the past about how you select a yarn or pattern to bet let one or the other be a highlight, like not using a variegated yarn in a design that is heavily textured, as the yarn will win over the design (read more here). Pechin however, has a balance that allows the yarn to shine as well as the design, and this is true even if the yarn is variegated.


Beyond Basic Hat- Free Pattern

Last week I shared a Basic Hat free pattern, I had an increased number of people wanting to make hats, and they really are great, quick projects, that can help those fighting cancer by the means of chemo therapy. I have designed both of these hats using baby weight yarn, as I find that it is both soft and hypo-allergenic.

The Beyond Basic Hat is worked holding 2 strands of baby yarn at one time (you could substitute 1 strand of medium weight yarn instead). To use 2 strands is not as difficult as it seems, you simply hold them together and treat them as if they were just 1 strand, so you yarn over using both strands together, you pull through loops using both strands together, they just get worked as one. I find it fun to use 2 different colors, like I did in this sample with teal and lemon yellow.

I find that this pattern tends to be my go to hat more often, as is really works up fairly fast, however if you want to learn how to customize the size of hat, check out my tutorial, Crochet Hat Formula, here.


Beyond Basic Hat


2 skeins Lion Brand Soft Baby light weight yarn (60% acrylic, 40% nylon)

I/9/6mm crochet hook

Gauge: 5 rnds/ 8 dc=3”

This pattern is worked holding 2 strands of yarn throughout.

For directions for the Reverse Single Crochet (Revsc) check out my tutorial here.

Sizes: Baby (Kid, Woman, Man)

Rnd 1(1, 1, 1) Ch 4, 11 dc in 4th ch from the hook, sl st to join.

Rnd 2 (2, 2, 2): Ch 3, dc in same st, 2 dc in each st around, sl st to join.

Rnd 3 (3, 3, 3): Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next st, [2 dc in next st, dc in next st] rep around, sl st to join.

Rnd – (4, 4, 4): Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 2 sts, [2 dc in next st, dc in next 2 sts] rep around, sl st to join.

Rnd – ( -, 5, 5): Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 3 sts, [2 dc in next st, dc in next 3 sts] rep around, sl st to join.

Rnd – (-, -, 6): Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 4 sts, [2 dc in next st, dc in next 3 sts] rep around, sl st to join.

Rnd 4-8 (5-11, 6-12, 7-13): Ch 3, dc in each st around, sl st to join.

Rnd 9 (12, 13, 14): Ch 1, Revsc around, sl st to join. Fasten off, weave in ends.

Get This Gift! The Perfect Kit

Wow! I am excited about this!

This has been a unique undertaking in which I have partnered with Lickin Flames and Mountain Colors Yarn to put together an AWESOME Kit.

I contributed the patterns, both crochet and knit (Brenda Atchison helped a lot with the knit version), for this cute one skein shawl. Lickin Flames added an adorable Shawl Pin, this little black sheep, which works wonders at pinning a shawl while making everyone smile. Mountain Colors contributed the yarn, a skein of Twizzlefoot (a great blend of Superwash Merino and Domestic Wool with silk and nylon), a great sock weight yarn.

This kit features 2 brand new colors from Mountain Colors….Shooting Star and Silver Anniversary, as well as the classic Ruby River.

We released this kit last month exclusively on the wholesale market, getting it in the hands of shop owners, so that anyone needing a holiday gift would find the perfect kit for their loved one…either the knitter or crocheter.

It is FINALLY available for direct sale, so you can get your own kit! Or one for a loved one!

This really is a great kit. The colors of the yarn or FABULOUS…not to mention that the yarn is pretty great too….and the Shawl pin is really adorable…I think you will like it. The pattern, okay, well I always have a hard time talking about my work…but those that have already worked it tell me that they LOVE it…That makes me feel good.

I have never had something put together in such a way as to allow everyone contributing really shine. It was fun to work on the collaboration, and I hope we can pull off another one in the future. If you are looking for a perfect Christmas gift for your yarn lover, or just looking a gift for yourself, please consider checking out the Cooperation Shawl.


Art With More Than One Use- That’s Value

I really love when I can see a real value in something. When something can fulfill different needs; when something is a real workhorse; and it if looks great while doing it, that is placing it over the top. When talking to a longtime friend of mine, I realized that her new business venture was of a product that met this description.

Lilla Rose creates hair products, which I admit are a bit different then what I have seen before. On the surface it looks like a typical hair tie, but it is actually flexible. Made from what I understand as piano wire, it is sturdy; so it holds its shape and such, but it is also flexible so that it can catch your hair more like almost a net and then cradle it. This helps it to feel comfortable all day long. 

Another different feature is that the pin that holds it in place, is actually attached to the tie, so that is it never lost, and it is in the correct place every time to keep your hair in place.

So, now what makes this a work horse, well, aside from the many different styles and looks, it also works great as a shawl pin. It adds a perfect locked in approach to keeping my shawl in place without slipping and sliding around. With the pin attached I know that it will not fall through or twist around. I know that when I put it in my shawl, it will stay. 

Then after some playing around I think I found my favorite latest use…holding my yarn balls in place. When I am working with multiple colors in the same fabric, it never fails…I get the yarn completely tangled and if I am using balls they are rolling everywhere. I can use multiple yarn bowls, but sometimes that is not practical as I am traveling with my work. However these hair clips fit perfectly in the yarn, and prevents it from rolling, while securing the end where I want it. 

I know this might seem like a small thing, holding yarn in place, either on the ball or my shawl, but sometimes it is the small things that really make a difference.

I am glad my friend and I had a chat about her products, as I think I have found a new “go-to” for a few different things. You can check out her clips here…