Mix ‘n Match: Using Multiple Yarn Gauges in a Project

Posted by on Jan 20, 2014 in Knitting | Comments


The rules of knitting say that if you use more than one skein of yarn for a project, the two skeins should be the same gauge. But here at Craftsy, we’re rule-breaking knitting rebels. What would happen if we mixed two different gauges of yarn in one project?

Mixing two different yarns can give your knitting project some extra color, texture and even some sparkle! Take a look at these tips for mixing different yarn gauges, then get inspired by a few mixed-gauge knitting patterns.

Blue knit wall art - Craftsy Member Pattern

Photo via Craftsy member SusanW48

What do we mean by mixing gauges?

Let’s say you’re knitting a plain, rectangular scarf. Does that scarf have to be knit completely in a worsted-weight wool? Nope. You could alternate stripes of wool with stripes of open, airy mohair to completely transform the look of the scarf. Check out the Endless Blue wall art pictured above as an example. See how SusanW48 used several different textures and gauges to make this freestyle knit art?

When using two yarns of different gauges, you don’t always have to use one yarn at a time. Why not put two strands together and work them at the same time? A thin strand of a shimmery yarn like Artyarns Beaded Mohair and Sequins Yarn can add a lot of sparkle to a plain worsted weight yarn. Hold those two strands together and knit up a swatch to get an idea of how they will look.

Swatching

If you’re not sure how the two yarns are going to work together, make a swatch. Knit a couple rows with one yarn, knit a few rows with the other yarn. Alternate to get an idea of how the yarns work together in terms of draping.

Knitting borders

The simplest way to start mixing different gauges of yarn is to simply add a border. So for example, what if you knitted a wrap with Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport yarn in blackberry, then knit a couple rows as a border using Rowan Kidsilk Haze yarn in dewberry? As you become braver, you can start to alternate the yarns in the actual project.

Multi-gauge yarn patterns

Want to see different gauges of yarn in action? Take a look at two beautiful examples from our talented Craftsy members.

Striped hat and gloves - Craftsy Member Pattern

Photo via Craftsy member Knit Collage

Striped hat and gloves

Experiment with mixing two different yarns from the same company and see what happens. Knit Collage used two yarns from their very own collection to knit this hat-and-glove combo.

Get the Striped Hoodie Hat & Gloves pattern.

Craftsy Member Knitting Pattern - Knit yoga legwarmers

Photo via Craftsy member KCaudill

Yoga legwarmers

Take a basic knitting pattern, like these yoga legwarmers, and incorporate stripes of different gauges for an easy mixture of yarns. Designer KCaudill played with a bit with texture here, alternating a fuzzy yarn here and there.

Get the Yoga Legwarmers pattern.

Know what looks really great when knitted with different gauges? Shawls, of course! Learn the anatomy of a shawl and its design elements in Shawlscapes with Stephen West. After you’ve designed a few shawls of your own, knit up a few that use different gauges of yarn. Experiment and you’ll have completely unique shawls — some of which may even be knit from the exact same pattern!

Have you ever mixed yarn gauges in a project? Did you like the results?