Pretty soon I'm going to be launching a collection of accessories that use sock yarn held double. And I know many of you will be thinking "Cool! But....what's the point of holding the yarn double?" Using yarn held double is something I'm actually quite passionate about so let me explain to you a bit and hopefully win you round!
Firstly, what does it mean to use "sock yarn held double"? By this I mean holding two strands of sock yarn together. In the case of my collection I mean two strands from the same ball (using my tutorial here) but you could equally do this with two different balls of yarn.
Why would I want to do that instead of just using a thicker yarn? So many reasons! Maybe you want to...
1. Use up stash -- Are you like me and always have sock yarn in your stash? I know I always find myself buying it at festivals and picking up a skein here and there. It's easy to just pick up one skein of sock yarn and think "oh I'll find something to make with this." There are only so many socks I can knit in a year and I don't like using pure sock yarn (those with nylon content) for shawls. Or maybe you bought it for socks then realised it didn't have nylon content and so you don't want to make socks out of it, but it's too colourful for a shawl. Don't let this yarn just sit in your stash and be sad. Hold it double and a whole new world of patterns becomes accessible to you.
2. Change the colour appearance of a skein -- Maybe you have a skein of sock yarn that you bought but when you started to knit it up the colours didn't stripe/pool/variegate as socks in the way you expected. I found that the opal yarns I used still striped really nicely but differently to the way they did as socks. Variegated skeins were changed up significantly -- holding the yarn double means two different colours can go into one stitch which changes the appearance. This can really tone down brightly coloured skeins as the colours are far less likely to pool when held double. You'll be able to tell when you are winding the ball if the yarn will still pool because you'll notice that the two strands you are holding together are always the same colour. If this is happening and you don't like it then I would recommend winding the skein into two 50 gram balls instead of using the outside and inside of the larger ball as shown in the tutorial. By holding two different ends together you might be able to stop the colours lining up. Another solution is to hold a wildly variegated skein with a neutral solid as shown below:
Left: Sock yarn knit normally Right: Sock yarn knit held together with a solid grey.
3. Create a unique fabric -- when you hold the yarn double you are creating two layers of fabric. This makes the fabric so squishy and smooshy and extra warm. It's one of my favourite knitted fabrics and you really have to try it at least once.
4. Have a machine washable and affordable end product -- a skein of yarn like Opal is automatically machine washable, hardwearing and pretty affordable for a wool yarn. Plus it comes in awesome colourways rather than just a solid. I think this is can be pretty tricky to find in a DK weight yarn (at least where I am).
5. Create quick gifts for the holidays -- sock yarn held double creates roughly a DK/worsted weight yarn and therefore it knits up so quickly. I can make a hat in a night or two. My patterns will come in baby to adult sizes and per #4 we know the end product is machine washable and durable. Perfect for gift knitting.
So get some sock yarn lined up and be prepared to discover the wonderful world of knitting with sock yarn held double.
P.S. If you post pictures on Twitter or Instagram of your sock yarn or projects we will be using the tag #DoubleTimeKAL. Also you can tag anything to do with Joeli's Kitchen with the tag #JoelisKitchen so I can see what you are up to. My username name on both is "joeliskitchen", come find me!