How to minimize the two-row juggle

Posted on June 16, 2009 | 2 Comments

As I'm sure you've all noticed, I tend to use handpainted yarns more often than not. Most of the time when you're knitting a project that will use more than one ball of handpainted yarn, the look of your finished project can greatly benefit from alternating skeins. This is nothing new -- I'm pretty sure you're all familiar with the concept of working from 2 skeins at a time, working a couple of rows with one, then switching to the other and carrying the yarn up the side. Right?

Well, if you've done it even half as much as I have, you also know what a giant PITA it is to do it! The strands tangle, the edge can pucker (or just as bad, spread out!), and if you travel and knit like I do, carrying two balls is more than twice as annoying as carrying just the one. Which is where this simple-yet-awesome tip comes in, and it's so amazing that I thought it deserved its own post!

See how drastically different the size of these two balls of yarn is? This is my laceweight Leila shawl (now finished, thankyouverymuch!), which is knit out of Malabrigo Laceweight. The two skeins were pretty close to begin with, but one definitely had slightly longer color patches than the other and I was sure I'd be able to see it in the finished product if I didn't blend the two balls together. But I really didn't want to have to carry both balls around, so I went with the compromise:

Start with just one ball and knit to about the half-way point of that ball (it doesn't need to be exact, just eyeball it). Then join the second ball and do 2 rows from one, 2 rows from the other, until ball #1 is done. Then just continue on with ball #2!

The beauty of this simple trick is that it saves about 50% of the 2-ball knitting, but it blends the two colors so thoroughly that you can't tell the difference! I wouldn't use this "cheat" if the two skeins were drastically different (well, unless the visible blending effect would add to the finished project, which it totally could!), but if they're pretty close this trick will save you tons of frustration and untangling.

I like this so much, I'm using it on my next project already . . . but more on that next time! I can tell you it's Koigu, though . . .

Posted in handpainted yarn, knitting, Knitting Techniques, knitting tips, Yarn


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