24 Mar 2021

Seeing Double: #6 - Mix 'n Match Sets


Trevarren Placemat Set by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

If you have been following this "Seeing Double" series of blogposts, you will know that I am a fan of using two ends of yarn for all kinds of reasons – it can add warmth to your winter knitting, expand your range of yarn choices, and produce beautiful tonal effects. It also allows you to incorporate additional fibres into your work to add drape, texture and visibility. 

However, there is another really good reason to use doubled yarns, and that is to create sets of items – all perfectly co-ordinated because the same yarns have been used throughout.

Trevarren Placemat Set by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

This is what I have done in the Trevarren Placemat Set pictured above. The placemats and coasters have been worked using a single strand of yarn while the hot pads and central tablemat use two strands of yarn held together. 

The yarn is Paintbox Yarns Cotton Aran, which gives a lovely surface for the placemats and coasters even when used with just one strand of yarn. However, putting two strands together creates a sturdy hot pad that will protect your table top from hot, heavy casserole dishes.

In this set I have used the same colour throughout but of course you could bring in a range of colours for the placemats, then combine different colours for the tablemats to give a different look for the centre-of-table items.

Northstowe Beanie Hat by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

Here's another idea for knitting a set of items: thick hats, scarves or cowls worked with doubled yarns, then matching gloves, mittens and socks using a single strand of the same yarn.

Some years ago I found myself at the end of a long flight with no knitting yarn to hand. I know! Shudder... It came about because a full cup of airline tea had soaked into a large amount of cotton-yak yarn and if you want to read the whole sorry tale, then please click here

Needless to say, there are multiple reasons why I give thanks for having such a beautiful daughter (and I am of course only marginally biased) but that day it was because she is a knitter with a large and diverse yarn stash! She soon found me some suitable yarn and I started casting on for the cowl I was planning. The next day we visited a lovely yarn store in Faversham, Kent and found the yarn for the Northstowe Hat pictured above.

The yarn we found was a gorgeous DK wool mix by Coopworth Yarns called Socks Yeah DK and it worked beautifully with two ends of yarn held together. The Teversham Cowl  that I made first with this yarn was so soft and warm that I went on to make a headwarmer, then a whole range of hats including the Northstowe Hat for men and the Madingley Beanie Hat for ladies.

Druidstone Socks by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

I could, of course, have used a thicker yarn if I had found one, but I just loved the colours and feel of this yarn.  Working with two ends of the DK-weight proved to be an excellent choice, too. Not only did it make some super-warm items, but I could also mix the colours as in the Teversham Cowl I featured here

It also had another great advantage – that I could then use just a single strand of the yarn to make thinner items such as gloves and socks to give a wonderfully co-ordinated set of items. 

You can also use this idea to co-ordinate a glove and scarf set with different fibres as I was describing last time. So if, for example, you have a wonderfully fluffy mohair-and-wool scarf, you could then work a thin strand of mohair into the cuff of a glove to echo the soft look of the scarf. The glove "hand" would be in plain wool, but the trimmed cuff would tie the two items together. 

Alternatively, you could work a pair of mittens in a single plain colour with a two-colour cuff to match a thicker two-colour cowl or hat worked with doubled strands. 

As a side note, you can also use this same concept within a single item to reinforce a key area or to add extra padding. For example, you could work the sole of a knitted slipper with an extra strand of yarn to give a lovely cushy surface to walk on. 

 Fishermen's sweaters could have an extra-dense area at the elbows to save wear, or an additional strand could be added at the shoulders for warmth. The same is true for ski socks where a thicker boot cuff could be formed using a second strand of yarn to give extra cushioning and insulation.

Next time, I'll be back for the final blogpost in this series, where I will look at tips and techniques for working with doubled yarns. In the meantime, if you would like to read the introduction to the series, then please click here

Until then - keep safe and happy!


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