18 November 2011

triple your pleasure, triple your fun

...or why I'm not crazy about holding yarn double, but triple's just fine:

I just knit a Baby Sophisticate cardigan for my niece.  It's cute, see?

Other than a few mods mentioned in the last post, I pretty much followed the playbook, except for subbing soft, sturdy, superwash merino sock yarn in two colors into a pattern calling for aran weight (and it didn't take weeks and lots of math).  I held the yarn triple.  It worked beautifully.  I don't usually think of multi-stranding my yarn - I'll sooner change up the gauge of a given pattern if I have my heart set on a particular yarn-pattern combo whose weights don't agree.  I don't like doubling yarn because it invariably makes for uneven stitches.  When two strands lie side-by-side, the resulting compound yarn is twice as wide as it is high (or vice-versa).  Here's a visual:

Can't get 'em any closer together than that.
In my experience, the wide, flat compound yarn effect isn't my favorite, but of course ymmv - if there's a pattern in which you'd find a flat tape-style yarn appealing, I say try it out.  Swatching never hurt anyone.

I'd sort of forgotten about the possibility of tripling yarn until this project came along.  I'd had a screaming pink, variegated skein of Wollmeise 100% Merino Superwash in Roter Himbeermund set aside for awhile to knit a baby girl sweater for the niece (to coordinate with this silliness), but wasn't crazy about the idea of a fingering weight baby sweater.  I mean fine, it's been done, but for something that'll only fit for one winter... I just didn't really want to suck it up.  I was messing around the other night and stumbled on about a third of a skein of Merlot in the same base... and a few short hours later I had a new baby cardigan.  Here's why I'm happy with the triple-stranded results:

Doesn't that look so much happier?
When you knit with a three-strand "compound" yarn, the strands want to snuggle up next to each other, like those pencils are doing above.  This doesn't make for precisely round result, but it's much closer to round than the two-stranded scenario.  Looking closely at the finished project, two strands are   visible in most of the stitches.  But the third strand is there behind them, evening out the fabric, making it all dense and springy and squishy.  Oh yes.

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