The endless joys of yarn pairing

I think most of you know how truly and thoroughly a yarn nerd I am already, so the title of the post should come as no surprise? 😉

Last Monday I showed a few examples of possible yarn pairs for blindingly simple but stunning subtle-y striped shawls like Camomille and Merlot. I got a bit carried away with the process and decided at the last minute that I’d better split the post as my yarn-nerd-ness was getting out of hand!

I’d paired up 2 more, classic grey combos to show you – ‘ColebrookeBFL/Alpaca‘ and then ‘Colebrooke/Dusty Miller‘ – and then realised how different these two shawls would be due to the properties of the yarns being paired and got really excited!
Kettle_Yarn_Co_greys

While the two above look incredibly similar in the skein, the two pairings would create substantially different moods in a shawl!

The BFL/Alpaca combo is more lofty on the right will knit up significantly warmer and ‘fuller’ than the Bloomsbury BFL/Silk, with a sumptuous Alpaca bloom and sponge. It is so warm – even knit as an open lace – that I often find myself overheated with this blend in the mild autumn chill!

In the pairing with Bloomsbury (right) the 80% BFL makes stitches hold a bit more crisply open and the extra silk adds to Westminter’s already substantial drape giving a slightly more dressy (formal/evening wear) feel to the shawl. Both could be worn to dress up last winter’s coat OR over a party dress for a holiday event, but the subtle difference lets you tailor for personality.

You would never think it just looking at the skeins, which look quite similar at first glance, would you?

I first discovered the joys of yarn pairing when knitting Helga Isager’s Nightingale Vest.
bloom

It was amazing how even adding a single thin strand of lace to otherwise rather unpleasant feeling sock yarn transformed the fabric into something much greater than its parts (knitting gestalt)!

Yarn pairing is amazing and opens up a world of possibility in stash busting. Add a strand of another yarn and you can create amazing colour effects like heathering and ombre – like in Antonia Shankland’s Kinetic cowl below which starts with 2 strands of the same colour, moves to two strands of 2 different colours for a gradient, then back to 2 strands of the new colour:

Or even change the drape and handle of a yarn and counteract a less desirable trait by blending to better suit your pattern – create more drape, LESS drape and more structure, or add a fuzzy soft halo for an feminine ‘sweater-girl’ twist.

Fun AND useful!

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2 thoughts on “The endless joys of yarn pairing

  1. Found your blog via your Marin on Ravelry! I haven’t knitted properly for years but at a trip to Knit & Stitch in 2012 bought some beautiful skeins which then sat in a cupboard as I didn’t know what to do with them! Earlier this year I bought another skein of something that felt gorgeous and the shop owner pointed me to a pattern on ravelry which I knitted and am thrilled with. And so I appear to have been bitten by the bug and have cast on Marin!
    Now I am off to browse your etsy shop and try and understand all the different weights and projects in my ravelry favourites!

    • Hello! Knitting and yarn is very addictive, but in a good way, I think!

      Let me know if you need any help with Marin. Just read the whole thing through very carefully! The wording was a bit of a bear to get into, but if you read my previous post on where the pattern goes a bit vague, I have made some notes and a diagram and hopefully it will help.

      Give me a buzz if you need to match up any yarns/patterns as well… 😉

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