How to Crochet with Multiple Strands of Yarn
We are currently hooked on crochet projects that call for multiple strands of yarn. Let me explain…
It’s no surprise that we basically live for color here at The Neon Tea Party. Give us a craft supply that comes in a whole rainbow and we are happy campers. (Literally.)
Lately, we’ve been crocheting up a storm with our new acrylic yarn, Favorito, which comes in 44 vibrant, delicious hues, and thus thinking of ways to get the most color punch out of our new favorite yarn.
This thought process lead us to an existential craft question: Why crochet with just one strand when you can crochet with multiple strands of yarn?! 💡
How to Crochet with Multiple Strands of Yarn
The Best Yarn for Crocheting With Multiple Strands
Favorito is a DK-weight yarn, which is slightly thinner than your average worsted weight craft yarn. This slim yarn weight makes it so easy to crochet with two, three, or even more strands of yarn at the same time. Doing so is a great way to bulk up a project or give your crochet creation a colorful, blended kick by stitching with multiple colors at the same time.
When we designed our Deluxe Crochet Kits, we kept yarn blending in mind, which is why we included 4 different hook sizes: 4, 5, 7, & 9mm. Be sure to check out the Crochet Hook Size Chart further down to see how many strands of Favorito to pair with these (& more!) hook sizes.
In this post, I’ve compiled some of our top tips to help you successfully crochet with multiple strands of yarn, and create a totally unique (and hopefully colorful!) crocheted piece.
Choosing Your Crochet Project
You can turn almost any crochet project into a blended yarn creation if you set your mind to it. The simpler the project, the easier it will be! But in any case, we have some helpful tips for you.
You can take one of two approaches when choosing to crochet with multiple strands of yarn:
- Match the Yarn Weight: You can try to match a heavier yarn weight by using multiple strands of a thinner yarn, like Favorito, at once. Simply find the hook size that the project calls for, then refer to the Crochet Hook Size Chart further down in this post to determine how many strands of Favorito or another DK-weight yarn you can crochet with using that same size hook. In this case, you can most likely proceed with the project as instructed, however we still recommend making a gauge swatch. (More on that further down!)
- Increase the Yarn Weight: If your project calls for a yarn weight close to the weight of the yarn that you want to blend, you’re going to have to do a little math to reduce the number of stitches to account for your stitches becoming larger thanks to multiple strands of yarn. We’ll get into these details in the section on making a gauge swatch.
Choosing Your Yarn Color Combo
Now for the fun part: choosing your yarn color combination! The color combination you choose is totally up to your style. You can go for a unicorn-rainbow blend of all the bright colors, keep it classy with a blend of neutrals, or, my favorite, mix a few brights with some subtle hues.
Here is my go-to recipe for coming up with a yarn color combination:
- Think about what the item is and what you plan to pair it with. If it’s something you can wear: what will you likely wear it with? If it’s a decor item: where are you going to place that item? Start your color combination with the color of that paired item. If it’s a hat, maybe use the charcoal grey of the coat you plan to wear with it. If it’s a blanket, maybe use the camel color of the sofa you plan to rest it on.
- Once you’ve identified that first color, pull in your favorite one or two bold contrast colors that compliment it. Don’t be shy — in my experience, the brighter the better! You can always add balance in the next step.
- Once you have your base + contrast colors, test out a few “bridge” colors that will create visual harmony in your color palette. These can be more medium tones, lighter or darker shades of the colors in your combo, or additional neutrals. I tend to throw in an off-white, light peach, or beige to add the illusion of negative space between bright colors, which always works out nicely!
- Optional final step: I like to add one bold color addition at the very end to give the pattern an unexpected punch, like the cool Jade I added to the warm color combination above. You don’t have to do this, but I find it’s this last step that makes a color combination unexpected and impactful.
Selecting the Best Hook Size
Depending on the number of strands with which you’re crocheting, you’re going to need a hook size that is large enough to fit your custom yarn weight. If you’re crocheting with multiple strands of Favorito, this chart makes it easy for you to figure out which size hook will work for your project. If multiple hook sizes work with your strand quantity, you can make a small swatch using each size to see which hook feels easiest to work with and yields the look you’re going for.
Winding Your Yarn (Hint: Try Our Trick!)
Winding your yarn makes it much easier to crochet with multiple strands of yarn. Most often, when you purchase yarn, it will come in a skein with a tail that is accessible from the outside of the yarn. When you work this end (meaning, when you crochet using the exterior tail), your yarn will tend to flop around. If you’re crocheting with the outside tails of multiple strands of yarn at once, you’ll have multiple flopping skeins that will inevitably end up a tangled mess!
We recommend two solutions:
- Use a Yarn Winder: A yarn winder is a crocheter’s best friend. But actually. (We love this winder from Knit Picks!) When you wind your yarn, your yarn will spin up into a shape called a “cake.” This ball shape sits flat on a surface and has a tail you can pull from the interior. This interior tail will pull up smoothly and result in minimal yarn movement, which helps reduce the risk of tangles. When crocheting with multiple strands of yarn, you can place all of your wound-up yarn skeins in a basket, bowl, or project bag to keep them together, off the floor, and prevent them from bouncing away.
- Use the Toilet Paper Tube trick!: Whether or not you wind your yarn (though we do still recommend winding your yarn first), you can use a toilet paper roll to help create one large blended yarn cake! Simply hold all of your yarn ends together, feed them into the toilet paper tube, and start wrapping. Once you’re done wrapping, trim your yarn and gently remove the tube, leaving the center strands coming up from the center, ready for you to use. See this tip in action here!
Making a Gauge Swatch
Creating a gauge swatch is optional but recommended, especially if you’re adapting a pattern that calls for a thinner yarn weight. A gauge swatch is a square sample of your project’s pattern that you make before starting your project. By doing this, you can test out how many stitches and rows you get when you crochet a certain stitch (or combination of stitches) with a certain yarn using your hook of choice. This sample will allow you to scale your project to spec, as you’ll know how many stitches and rows you get within a square inch, 5 inches, etc.
Here is how we recommend using a gauge swatch, depending on how you approach your project:
Using multiple yarn strands on a project that calls for just one: Make your gauge swatch using your desired number of strands, and match the size of the swatch to the size swatch your pattern calls for. Compare the number of stitches and rows in your pattern’s swatch vs. your own, then scale your project accordingly based on your desired dimensions.
Attempting to match a pattern that calls for a thicker yarn: Make your gauge swatch using your desired number of strands, and match the size of the swatch to the size swatch your pattern calls for. Compare the number of stitches and rows in your patterns swatch vs your own. If you’re lucky, the count will match! If not, scale your project accordingly based on your desired project dimensions.
Freeform crocheting: Make a gauge swatch using your desired number of strands in a 4″x4″ or 5″x5″ square and scale your project accordingly based on your desired project dimensions.
You’re now fully prepared and ready to bring your multiple-strand crochet project to life! We are so excited to see what you create by blending your yarn to create unique, colorful crochet creations!
Please let us know in the comments what you make using this tutorial and tag us on Instagram @theneonteaparty so we can check it out!
Peace, love & neon,
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