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Alternating Balls of Handpainted Yarn

3-ball method to achieve same thickness at both ends of the knitted row
by Jackie E-S

Handpainted yarns can sometimes have distinctive variations from skein to skein due to the serendipitous mixing of colors in areas where the applied dyes blend into each other. Some brands of handpainted yarns even advertise themselves as "one of a kind". If a single skein/ball of the handpainted yarn is sufficient for your project, then you are good to go. But if you will be needing a larger amount, then using some kind of method to alternate using yarn from each of 2 or more skeins is usually a good idea.

Note: The following method is also good for projects where you are working with yarn from different dye lots but want to achieve as uniform of a look as possible.


I am carrying an unused ball of yarn up one side of my knitting. After 2 rows with 1 ball, I dropped that ball after completing my garter stitch edge and switched to the 2nd ball and continued doing this every 2 rows. After I completed a length of knitting I noticed that the edge where I was switching balls was thicker than the other side edge. How can I avoid this?


If you are carrying yarns up only one edge, obviously that edge is going to be heavier/thicker because of the extra stranding. To get similar edges on both sides, consider working with 3 ends/strands instead of 2 (e.g. 3 balls, or 2 ends coming off 1 ball and another end coming off another ball).

Work row 1 with strand 1.
Drop strand 1; attach strand 2 and work row 2.
Drop strand 2; attach strand 3 and work row 3.
Drop strand 3 and pick up strand 1 from 2 rows below waiting on that edge. Work the next row.
* Drop the strand that you were just working with and pick up strand that is waiting for you on that edge 2 rows below, then proceed to work the row with the picked-up strand.
Repeat from *.

This is the technique that I use in my Troika Wrap-Around Faroese Shawl pattern (although for that, the idea is to use 3 different yarns in differing textures; but can work equally well in 3 strands of handpainted yarn).

Do you have a Question about knitting technique or skill? Please email me and I will consider it for an upcoming Q&A.

Return to Index of Jackie E-S Articles & Tips.

Thank you for interest. I am here to serve you and help keep your knitting a pleasurable experience. If you have questions or need assistance with purchasing or knitting my HeartStrings patterns, let me know. Sincerely, Jackie E-S

Email address: jackie@heartstringsfiberarts.com
Phone: 678-262-6338 or 877-764-2747 (toll-free in US)
Postal address: HeartStrings, Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer, 53 Parlange Drive, Destrehan LA 70047-2133 USA

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Last revised Friday, 12-Jul-2013 15:34:30 CDT