The thing about having a lot of yarn lying about the place is that it’s very fun to play with.
In the early days of my knitting, I was a Ball Band, Single Strand kind of girl.
Whatever it said I believed and I went for the straight application of yarn to needle.
But it wasn’t too long after (when I became a dedicated swatcher after lots of FAIL) that I knew that there was more.
Every yarn has its own characteristics and the ball-band is only a reference. You’ve got to start somewhere and for the most part, the information given is pretty much acceptable ballpark, yadda, yadda.
I made a ton of Beanies, using this pattern, using worsted yarn held double to get a nice squooshy WARM thick hat. It just seemed like the thing to do!
Then, I made a ton of Scarves one Christmas using up all the odds and ends of my Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride (my total go-to yarn at the time), again using doubled yarns, and changing the color combos every few inches for duo-toned stripes.
All of these projects were two strands of worsted weight or aran yarn held together knit on size 10.5 needles.
Why? Because that’s what I had and I’d swatched to get the gauge for the combo.
But then things got interesting…
During some baseball playoff a few years ago, I started designing a poncho. I was just foolin’ around and grabbed some skinny yarns I had and tried to combine them — here’s my project notes:
“…I was totally enticed with bulky yarns – they’re a lot more light weight because most are now wool/acrylic blends.
…it dawned on me that many of the yarns looked like multi-stranded skinny weight yarns. I could combine some things I have in stash that might work – especially a brushed merino worsted gauge yarn I have from Crystal Palace called Merino Frappe. It is a warm Olive color and is as lightweight as mohair without the tickling, shedding, and heavy warmth. BUT, I never have found a use for it after knitting a swatch, which I found to be flabby beyond belief! AND, believe it or not, the color was just too cocktail olive green for me. I’m a Shrek green girl myself…
I am combining the flabby Frappe with a strand of smoky light aqua Rowan DK Soft, which is also flabby and a strand of Bernat Sesame sportweight yarn in the lightest soft beige, which is mildly flabby and very thin…
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Yarn: I think I need 650 yds each of three different yarns – yarns must be *flabby* ie. drape well…
The poncho will be worked in two pieces, front and back, Starting from the bottom up, with #11 needles and switching to #13 after the first 2 rows.
Gauge: 3sts/ 4rows per inch or 12sts/16rows per 4″
And thus, another accidentally successful combo was born.
Speeding ahead to the present, we recently got bit by the combo bug once more.
But this time, science joined the party.
We found a formula (that’s been around forever!) that seems to work pretty darn good:
*** Add the two gauges of Yarn #1 + Yarn #2 together,
then divide by 3 to get the approximate New Gauge ****
Trying this out with our aran weight yarn above that has a gauge of 4.5 sts per inch, we get:
4.5 + 4.5 = 9
9 / 3 = 3 sts per inch
I just measured the gauge on one of ye olde combo hats, and VOILA: 3 sts per inch :)
But what about combining more than two?
We want to make a combo’d MAXIMUS for ourselves using some yarns about the house and are tri-curious! This is a perfect pattern for combed mixes because the end fabric is supposed to be a little firm and thus you can experiment a little more boldly…
off to swatch, my pretties…