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Amy Solovay

Crocheting With Mismatched Yarns

By November 20, 2012

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This post was originally written on 5/29/2009. I'm happy to report that I have an update. I'll fill you in on the details momentarily; in case you never saw the original post, or you'd completely forgotten about it, I'm leaving the original text of the post intact and adding my update at the end.

Faux Lace With Single Crochet

Original Post:

What happens if you crochet with two or more absurdly different yarns? This is one of my favorite design challenges. I never get bored with trying new variations of this challenge; the question can be answered in so many different ways.

These experiments often lead to interesting discoveries, although I admit that some of them result in a complete mess. Experience has taught me that my chances of success improve if I include at least one unifying element to make up for the mismatch.

Today's experiment involves crocheting with yarns that are completely different sizes. The unifying factors: both these yarns are cotton, and the colors complement each other well.

To make it even more interesting, I decided to pair a vintage thread with a contemporary yarn. I used Star Pearl Twist mercerized cotton in size 8, plus Lily's Original Sugar 'n Cream, a worsted weight 4-ply cotton yarn.

I made a swatch in stripes of front loop single crochet, alternating two rows of the Sugar 'n Cream yarn with two rows of the Pearl Twist.

The size G crochet hook I used is an acceptable match for the Sugar 'n Cream yarn, although perhaps it is a bit on the small side. Under most circumstances, I wouldn't choose a size G hook to use with the Pearl Twist, but that's what I did here.

Close Up Photo- Faux Lace With Single CrochetThe result? The rows of Pearl Twist look almost lacy. I'd describe this as "Faux lace with front loop single crochet".

I'm liking this, but I want to know what you think? In your opinion, is this experiment a keeper or a flop?

If you guys love it, I'll incorporate the idea into a pattern for you to crochet. If you all hate it, I'll move on to the next experiment. I look forward to reading any insights you want to share, so please don't be shy about commenting.

Update, November 14, 2012:

Back in 2009, I was really excited about this project, especially since a few of you expressed enthusiasm about it too. I spent hours trying to think of an idea that was well-suited to the thick-and-thin theme in my sample. I finally decided to crochet a scarf.

I knew I wanted to find different yarns; I'm not a big fan of wearing kitchen cotton, although I do love cotton scarves in general. Also, I didn't want y'all to have to hassle with hunting down vintage thread like what I used in my original experiment.

And that's where the project stalled. I worked on this project on and off periodically ever since my original post in 2009. Bunches of swatches later, I had...nothing worth showing you.

Thick and Thin Crochet Scarf

It wasn't 'til I discovered Knitpicks Swish yarn, which is available in different weights, that I got excited about the results of my swatching. Even then, it took me a few tries to come up with a workable design.

So, that's how my thick and thin scarf design was born. Now you know the whole story! :)

Photos © Amy Solovay


June 19, 2009 at 6:59 pm
(1) Wendy says:

It is nice to see this in a photo, with ‘real’ yarn/thread, rather than 1800′s woodcuts. Therese de Dillmont (1846-1890) in her Encyclopedia of Needlework (availiable at Project Gutenberg) has “knitting patterns with two kinds of thread”–and I found a ‘cloud’ pattern from 1881 (modern ‘stole’) I wrote about in my blog on the “Canadian Cloud” post, made with two sizes of wool.

June 19, 2009 at 9:58 pm
(2) crochet says:

Hi Wendy, Thanks for dropping by. I appreciate the comment!

I did not realize that Therese de Dillmont’s book was available through Project Gutenberg. I appreciate the tip. That book is an amazing resource, and I’ll be excited to take a closer look at it. Thanks for the information.

June 19, 2009 at 10:11 pm
(3) Wendy says:

The old books have sooooo much stuff in them, it is easy to spend many hours browsing. I am so intrigued by your work because I’ve never seen the two-thread sizes in crochet, only knitting! I’d love to see a pattern with it incorporated.

June 22, 2009 at 6:56 pm
(4) Kathryn Morris says:

I think that is a very interesting look. I would be interested in seeing projects using that concept.

June 22, 2009 at 7:03 pm
(5) Kathy says:

Love the different thread…makes it very interesting. I have long ago added different thread and even putting in beads to dress it up some. Keep coming up with great ideas I love it..

June 23, 2009 at 12:55 pm
(6) Lee says:

THANK YOU for the mixed thread crochet article. I also believe others would find it helpful to see pictures of what doesn’t work and then get feedback from people on why they feel it doesn’t work. Sometimes I put two or three items together and ‘something’ is amiss. It would be great to get several ideas on how to ‘improve’ the project/stitch pattern.

June 23, 2009 at 1:34 pm
(7) Kay says:

I love this. Can’t wait to see more info on the technique.

June 23, 2009 at 2:53 pm
(8) Patricia says:

I like the mismatched yarns. Looks very good

June 23, 2009 at 5:17 pm
(9) Erin Zupp says:

I have also done something like this with a plastic fat crochet hook and used every row a different yarn, thread, ribbon ect, to make scarves and only using chain and slip stitches. They come out fascinating.

June 29, 2009 at 3:33 pm
(10) Kate Porter says:

Using different weight yarns and often different size crochet hooks is a fascinating way to create a new look. I would like to see more patterns using this technique.

June 29, 2009 at 3:46 pm
(11) Kathleen says:

Yeah!!!! Mix it up!! I love it and hope it inspires others to think outside the box….
Yes, please do incorporate it into a pattern.

September 2, 2010 at 3:03 am
(12) RM says:

I love it!

July 2, 2012 at 4:02 pm
(13) Catherine says:

I really like it! I was just thinking that I could do something similar to make drapes or cafe style curtains. Thanks for the inspiration. Can’t wait to see what it could be made into. I also agree with the woman who said she’d like to see things that don’t work.

December 14, 2012 at 12:14 pm
(14) Janet says:

I love the idea and look of mixing different sizes of yarn in a project. Am looking forward to the pattern. It would make a very striking afghan.

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