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Crocheting Two Strands Together,
For Fun.

Welcome to issue #63. 

The Lovepod Boa pattern in three different kinds of yarnMaybe you already double-strand your crochet with pleasure. This topic first occurred to me last week when LeeAnn said, "I've always been a little ambivalent about patterns that call for double-stranding the yarn and wondered what the reasons would be for doing that."

I thought I felt the same as LeeAnn about it. After all, sometimes yarns tangle when I've crocheted them together. If one ball is wound looser, its strand will loop around the other strand I'm crocheting with, and this could make my stitches unevenly lumpy. 

Over the years I'd come to think of double-stranding as fun for mainly knitters. I'd noticed that yarn companies offering "carry along" yarns or threads almost always show them knitted. I might crochet two strands of something together out of necessity, but not for fun, like knitters seem to. Or...would I?

Turns out I've gradually changed about double stranding. LeeAnn made me realize I've been doing it a lot and liking it. In fact, I have too many examples to show here.

Special Stitch Effects

The most fun of all has been seeing the ways star stitches and love knots change when I double up the yarn. Four years ago, when I designed the Lovepod Boa (see image, above left), I just assumed it was a nice feature of that particular design and yarn choice.

Starpath Scarf pattern: double-stranded, single stranded, and a yarn over version of stitch.
More yarn strands make star stitches starrier. Extra yarn overs do too, but with extra work. By yarn overs I mean that while making a star stitch, one can yarn over before pulling each loop of it, and this adds strands to the star. I find double stranding to be simpler and faster than this. Who would have thought?

Creative Excitement!

No, wait. The most fun of all has been doubling color and texture options! The Electra Wrap opened my eyes to that (see top right corner). Crocheting a strand of lace mohair with a strand of a fancy slippery sequined thread makes each yarn easier than if crocheted alone. Using love knots makes it exciting, beautiful and fast!

Thanks to Electra, I noticed that crocheting one strand of fine mohair yarn held together with a different yarn changes that yarn. The mohair often seems to melt into the other yarn while adding a hazy tint of color, like painting with watercolors. So I tried pairing a pale gold mohair yarn with a dark gold cotton and rayon yarn in my stash. 
Ravelry project page.The combination fixed so many problems I had with that dark gold yarn. It feels very luxurious, and it's now a much nicer, buttery color for me.

Some yarns seem designed to give the same effect as double stranding. That's when I selected Kollage Delightful for a Lovepod Boa swatch. I also think of Artyarns Cashmere 5, Trendsetter Dune, and Fiesta Yarns La Boheme (pictured below).

Double stranding can add special design options, too. For the Sterling Bag I used one strand for the main bag part, then doubled up the yarn to give more dramatic impact to its decorative overskirt.

Common Practical Uses for Double Stranding

"Fix" a self-striping yarnSekku Coasters is a memorable example. The yarn was trouble and made me cranky: it's lace weight, sticks to itself, and the garish colors changed abruptly. Just crocheting with both ends of the same ball held together fixed everything, including my sunny disposition! 

Trailing Vine Poem-Lariat patternInclude beads with holes that are way too small for the yarn. The Aquamarine Poem-Lariat, for example (blogged here.) This is also how I got the pearls into the Bronwen Capelet.

Change the thickness of the yarn. To use a thin yarn for a pattern that calls for a thicker yarn, you can double up that yarn to double its thickness. I did this for many designs such as Starpath and Buffalo Knot Belt.

Scrappy the Draft Snake

For scrap yarn crochet projects. Say you wish to use up as many leftover yarns as you can of a certain color range. They likely differ in length and thickness. The fun part is doubling up some of them to even them up and combine well in a project. I did this with all of my teal shades of leftover novelty yarns for "Scrappy the Draft Snake."


That's it for #63! If you know someone who would enjoy this kind of newsletter, please forward this to them so that they can subscribe. (Click here to subscribe: http://eepurl.com/XwQk ) If you have any comments or suggestions, please email me. Thanks!      --Vashti
Doubling Up the Good Stuff
Electra Love Knot Wrap close up

The two different glam yarn strands used in Electra not only add substance to the love knots, they make each yarn a pleasure to crochet with - instead of tricky.

Star Tred: Star Stitch project in Ravelry
For the double-stranded Star Tred I purposely wanted to try star stitch rounds with two different colors held together.
 
DesigningVashti News
Starlooper: Star Stitch Mobius Cowl pattern is in the shop! http://bit.ly/1mW88QP
Starlooper: Star Stitch Crochet Mobius Cowl pattern
A Starlooper CAL might be brewing! With complimentary virtual beverages.
Starlooper Mobius Cowl pattern: several ways of wearing
 
Announcing Treat Medium-Z yarn. We couldn't resist a special purchase of this premium quality imported merino wool. It's medium weight, Z-twisted, kettle dyed pure luxury. Each 3.5 oz/100 g center-pull ball has approx. 219 yds/200 m. FREE shipping in the USA.
DesigningVashti Treat yarn: premium quality merino wool yarn. Medium wt., Z twisted, kettle dyed.Orders start shipping this Mon. & Tues. (Oct. 6th-7th). I'm still adding colors to the shop!

Wow: I've been overhauling my blog!
Most of the upgrading is behind the scenes so far. I'm experimenting with blogging about 4X a week. Tomorrow (Oct. 3) I'll post a gallery of all the images I didn't have room for in this newsletter.
Some recent posts: Tunisian Lace Crochet Pattern Test.
 
Link I Love 
Gwen Blakely Kinsler blogged this: Tennyson Library of Crochet. http://bit.ly/1CHHDSK To read the story of the man who donated and cataloged his great-grandmother's collection, see the website. Gilbert Witte has donated a large collection of crochet books and pamphlets, plus ephemera, to the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois. The collection is named after Witte's great-grandmother, Flora Emily Tennyson.

Vashti on the runway wearing Lotus lace pants and bolero by Doris Chan
Lace pants and Bolero in Lotus yarn by Doris Chan!  Like Crochet Inspirations Newsletter #63: Fun With Double Stranding on Facebook
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