How do I knit with multiple strands of yarn?
November 18, 2008 12:19 PM   Subscribe

My knitting pattern directs me to knit with multiple strands of yarn held together, but I keep ending up with a mess. What's the best way to do this?

I am the moistest newborn in knitting, and this snuggly throw is my first non-scarf project. I am using the same yarn and supplies mentioned in the pattern (different colors, however), but I'm a bit lost on the holding-four-strands-together business. I have the yarn wound into four separate center-pull balls, but how do I keep it from becoming a snarly mess?

I don't care so much about the strands being perfectly separate - it's just a throw, and I think the colors are supposed to blend together. At the moment, I have the balls inside a plastic shopping bag tied together at the top, and I have been pulling a yard or so of each ball out at a time. Is there a better way?

Thanks in advance (from my cold, blanketless feet).
posted by timetoevolve to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Um, rather this throw.
posted by timetoevolve at 12:24 PM on November 18, 2008

Best answer: I'm not clear if you're saying they're all in the same shopping bag, or each in a separate bag. I would recommend putting each ball in it's own bag, if you haven't done that yet. Next, hie thee to ravelry and sign up for an account there.
posted by bilabial at 12:37 PM on November 18, 2008

And for those of you just tuning in, Lion Brand's website that timetoevolve links doesn't let you just view the picture, you're supposed to sign up for a free email newsletter.

Here is a picture on flickr from someone who has made the same blanket. (You can also search "6-hour blanket" on flickr.)
posted by bilabial at 12:42 PM on November 18, 2008

Best answer: I'll echo the Ravelry comment -- they have great forums for any kind of question there!

Four strands is a lot to manage, but as bilabial said, putting each ball in a separate bag will really help. This will minimize the rolling about and tangling before you even get to the knitting.

Sometimes, pulling the yarn from a center-pull ball can be hard since it can be fairly tight. It can be easier to use the yarn on the outside instead (aka the other end) since it's not wound as tightly. If you have to jerk on the yarn to get more to come out of the wound ball, it may be worth your while to try to the other end.
posted by fantine at 12:43 PM on November 18, 2008

You can wind the four together into a new center pull ball, though the shopping/Ziploc bag method is what I usually use.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 12:47 PM on November 18, 2008

Response by poster: And for those of you just tuning in, Lion Brand's website that timetoevolve links doesn't let you just view the picture, you're supposed to sign up for a free email newsletter.

Aw poop, I didn't even realize that. Thanks, bilabial. Yes, it's the 6-hour throw knitted with the monstrous, wiffle bat-like needles.

Also, I am annoyed that I didn't even think to ask the ravelry forums. (I'm timetoevolve there as well.)
posted by timetoevolve at 12:52 PM on November 18, 2008

Don't wind the yarns together into a new ball unless it's all the same yarn in different colours -- once you start stitching, the different yarns will tend to run at different rates, and you'll end up with big loopy strands of excess from the slow running balls.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:31 PM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Every time I've tried knitting something with different strands held together, I didn't bother with containing all the balls into a bag like that - I left the balls separate, so they could roll free on the floor. It also helped me keep them a little separated -- "okay, you'll be on my left, and you'll be on my right, and you'll be over there in the front..." Yeah, they roll all over the floor and get a little dusty, and it was mildly annoying to round them up when I was putting my knitting down for the day, but they didn't get as snarled up. They also never did that thingyou're afraid of, that they're going to roll off down the hall and unroll themselves all over the floor.

The bag may actually be causing more problems than it solves. Give it a shot.

(Oh, and I'm "Queencallipygos" on ravelry.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:35 PM on November 18, 2008

Best answer: They make special yarn holders like this. One for each ball would help manage the tangling. I think similar containers are sold at Joann's and Michaels.

I'd be too cheap to buy four fancy jars myself and would probably try to fashion them from yogurt tubs or coffee cans.
posted by Squeak Attack at 3:37 PM on November 18, 2008

Best answer: I echo the putting the balls in their own separate ziplocs bags. What I do is seal the bag, cut off a small bottom corner of the ziploc and feed the yarn through the hole. It keeps things totally neat and easy to manage.
posted by pised at 3:47 PM on November 18, 2008

Four strands of yarn are going to be hard to control no matter what you are doing. Just take your time and keep your working stitches loose.

Since they are center pull balls, you could take two shoe boxes with two balls of yarn each with the lids fastened down and a two holes in the top. Generous holes to feed yarn through with a cut from the lid rim to the hole so you don't have to cut the yarn you already have on the needles. I'd put something heavy on or in the box to counteract the pulling like a shotput or a frozen game hen.
And Jacquilynne is right, plying them together, while it seems like a great solution, will cause a lot of heartache in the end.
posted by Foam Pants at 1:37 AM on November 19, 2008

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